The word of the day is “voyeur” …

I've been so into reading memoirs for the past year or so. Before that I hardly touched them, unless it was something written by a literary figure. Those have always been exceptions. But now memoirs rivet me. Well written ones, at least.

That explains my recent love of Ayelet Waldman and her Bad Mother. The subject matter hit close to home, and because I've read one of her novels it was a foregone conclusion. Nothing was going to stop me from reading this book.

Perfection

Now it's Julie Metz's turn, with her Perfection: A Memoir of Betrayal and Renewal. This one's a review book, and I don't remember anymore if I requested it or if the publisher/agent just sent it. Either way, I'm already hooked.

Basically, Metz's husband, Henry, dies suddenly (not a spoiler; it's early on in the book), leaving her to raise their little girl alone. But then she finds out her husband had been having an affair (on the back cover blurb!) with one of her close friends. And that's as far as I've gotten.

Metz is remarkably open; I feel weirdly voyeuristic reading the intimate details about her marriage, especially when she writes about their sex lives. I'm considering writing a memoir one day, and I can't say I'm planning to be quite this forthcoming – sorry about that. I probably have enough material without the incredibly personal details, but for those who feel free sharing, more power to them. For me, I prefer to leave some matters to the imagination.

I don't know that much else about Metz's book. I'm guessing finding out about the affair is that much worse by not having her husband there to talk through things, to find out the reasons, deciding whether to stay together or split up. Having him die so suddenly, and so young, is shocking enough on its own. The revelation of the affair must have blind-sided her.

I Googled her website, and I'll probably ask her for an interview once I've finished her book. In addition to being a writer she's a graphic artist who designs book covers. What a fascinating woman.

I don't know how long this memoir kick of mine will last. I'm still reading fiction, but memoir's enthralling me more now. Then again, here I sit with Baker & Taylor's (major distributor to libraries and bookstores) May/June catalog, looking through upcoming fiction. And I feel myself weakening … So many pages of fiction! I feel dizzy.

The good thing is, the older I get the more picky I become. Every year I scratch a genre off my list, limiting the scope of my booklust a little more. Lately I've eliminated historical fiction based on real figures. I can't stand not knowing what's real and what's made up. Chick lit went a long time ago. Actually, it never took hold. Then mass market fiction - most of what's on the bestseller lists. Also, most books about "how I found God," unless they're by people like Anne Lamott, who makes me laugh and doesn't preach. And books using 9/11 as a backdrop. Fagettabout it. No way.

Call me picky. I've been called worse. But I prefer "discriminating."

But the memoir? Hook, line and sinker. It's a lost cause. I can't see striking this one off the list, ever.

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2 thoughts on “The word of the day is “voyeur” …

  1. I got this one as a review book too – you make me want to pick it up immediately. As far as actually writing a memoir – I think I’d rather write fiction and weave in the parts I’d be too embarrassed to claim as my own *laughs*

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