Pain in Memoir

“When I look back on my childhood I wonder how I survived at all. It was, of course, a miserable childhood: the happy childhood is hardly worth your while. Worse than the ordinary miserable childhood is the miserable Irish childhood, and worse yet is the miserable Irish Catholic childhood.” ~Frank McCourt, Angela’s Ashes

I have been in graduate school for the better part of the past three-and-a-half years with a year-long break, which I spent abroad. Much of my studying has focused on the genre of memoir: reading it, writing it, talking about it. I’ve always enjoyed reading within this genre and a few years ago it somehow came about that I was writing a book-length memoir of my own. I’ve taken many “breaks” from that bigger project to work on smaller, essay-length memoir pieces.

Read More

Chris McCandless: The Ultimate "Yes…but No!" Story

A few days ago, I noticed that Carine McCandless — sister of Chris from the book and film, Into the Wild — has written a memoir, The Wild Truth. She certainly has a story to tell, and oh how my heart goes out to her all these years later. I hope I get to read the book.  From a couple reviews, it looks as if Carine looks back to her family system for some of the roots from which Chris was trying to free himself. It’s possible that Chris’s extreme isolation was just one more tragically-male response to his own trauma. In other words, he was running away from rather than toward something. This only adds to the sadness of the story, even if it is no real surprise.

Read More