Writing a book about abuse
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Don't Make Violence and Abuse Just Another Plot Device in Your Novel
A memoir is your story, but of course it will involve many other people. Most of us have not led completely charmed lives. Recent bestselling memoirs are replete with addiction, abuse, homelessness and triumph over these adversities. But do the other people in your story want theirs told? Are there elements that might be embarrassing to them?
Utterly challenging, the evening was filled with pieces that while wonderful, were also emotionally wrenching. Many students were writing memoir about family abuse. Some were sexual abuse memoirs; others told tales of emotional abuse. This is not surprising, given the MeToo movement. Sometimes there are nights like that, and after every one of them I have been suffused with a rare, nameless emotion.
In that time it has been much discussed; it was initially heavily praised and then began to draw ire, especially from influential feminists. The backlash primarily took the form of snarky comments on social media and Twitter. It started with Roxane Gay, who shot off some derisive subtweets while reading and then posted a critical review of the novel on Goodreads. By the next day the book had become an in-joke on literary twitter , prompting Nicole Cliffe, co-founder of The Toast , to remark that it was up there with Ethan Frome at the top of lists of most despised books. A few days later Bitch published s. My Absolute Darling is primarily an exploration of a mind shaped by abuse.
I was the child of a violent childhood, with a registered predatory sex offender for a father figure. I survived abuse and homelessness to become an author.
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Memoir is not just a fancy literary term for an autobiography. I say that from the start, because I hear the terms used interchangeably so often. A memoir draws on selected anecdotes from your life to support a theme and make a point. For instance, if your point is how you came from some unlikely place to where you are now, you would choose scenes from your life to support that. You might start with memories that show how bad things once were for you.
I should explain that I grew up in a dysfunctional family. Despite many difficulties I left school well qualified and worked for several years before returning to college and then studying at Sheffield University in the UK where I graduated in Political Theory and Institutions. I lost my job and that devastated me. I had to start again in an unfamiliar place and it felt as if I was walking waist deep in wet sand. The cover of Judith Haire's "Don't Mind Me" memoir, a straight forward account of abuse, and psychosis. See the strong Amazon reviews. I was given a contract to write my book and with a mixture of fear and excitement I set about writing it at the beginning of