Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Memoirs: 10 addictive true stories

Oprah and company came up with a ten best list of memoirs.

One title on the list:
Happens Every Day
by Isabel Gillies
272 pages; Scribner

Josiah Robinson (not his real name) falls in love with Isabel Gillies (her real name) when he is 7. Fifteen years later, they remeet. This time Isabel reciprocates. Josiah, a beautiful poet ("Heathcliff with an earring"), says: "I will call you at 2:30 and if you aren't there I'll try every minute after until you are." Reader, she marries him. She abandons her New York acting career and follows him to a teaching post in Ohio.

"I missed any signs of trouble," Isabel writes in Happens Every Day: An All-Too-True Story. The reader won't. Isabel throws Josiah into her new best friend Sylvia's path over and over. She makes the thing happen she is most afraid of happening.

If Gillies weren't so plucky, she would break your heart. When the blow comes, it's her sons she is most devastated for. They are blessed to have her kind of love. It's the same kind of love Isabel got growing up, mother-lode mother love.

"I am not a writer, but I have been told I write good e-mails," Gillies says. I bet.
Patricia Volk
Read about all ten books on the list.

Also see Iain Finlayson's critic's chart of the best faked memoirs, Benjamin Radford's top five faked memoirs, and Laura Lippman's top ten memorable memoirs.

--Marshal Zeringue