Author: Rebecca Walker
Published by: Riverhead Books (2001)
Rebecca is the product of a biracial and bicoastal home. In her memoir, she recounts her sexual experiences, her identity crisis (is she white, Jewish, or black?), and everything in between.
What is missing in her memoir are the spaces in between – there weren’t enough instances where the reader (well, this reader anyway) was too involved in her story. There was an emotional distance prevalent in the tale. The writing wasn’t particularly salient, novel, or fresh. There were run on sentences that drove me crazy or places that were incomplete.
As a person of color myself, I was able to relate to her identity crisis (am I American or Dominican, or both?) but I wanted more. She was the daughter of a famous and well-renowned African-American author; why didn’t we hear more about that? I comprehended this book was about her and not her mother but Alice Walker was her mother, after all. She also recounted many friends from the different coasts she lived from year to year – which I could not keep track of for the life of me.
This book was lacking insight; I kept thinking, “Okay, so what?” Almost like an essay with a good thesis statement and not enough examples to prove her point. A decent portrait of her childhood but not enough to keep this reader vastly interested in her story.
Author: Elizabeth Gilbert
Published by: Penguin (2006)
Elizabeth Gilbert is tired of being married because she’s in her thirties and her biological clock is not even close to ticking. After a devastating divorce, she takes pleasure in Italy for a few months, finds peace in India and falls in love in Indonesia. The last part was unexpected for her but she was ready for it after her heart had been broken.
Author: Frank McCourt
Publisher: Scribner (2005)
Frank McCourt’s third memoir, following ‘Tis, was about the years he spent as an English and Creative Writing teacher. The schools he taught at were: McKee Vocational and Technical School on Staten Island, Seward Park High School, New York Community College in Brooklyn, and Stuyvesant High School.
The book is sectioned off based on the places he taught at in order from McKee and ending with Stuyvesant. Continue reading
Author: Haruki Murakami
Published by: Vintage International (2009)
Murakami has run marathons for about twenty years and this book are his musings during marathon training. He seamlessly discusses the life of a writer and how running every morning aids his writing process.
When a writer friend suggested this book to me, I said to myself, “When I read this book, I’m going to train again.”
After the completion of Murakami’s memoir, I am focused on my goal to complete a full marathon. This year I am not eligible to run in the ING NYC marathon but I am going to join a running class to keep me motivated.
Diligence, determination, and discipline: three tools prominent in Murakami’s memoir that I can use to be successful in both my writing practice and marathon training.
This book can appeal to everyone because apart from being a memoir about running and writing, it’s also a memoir about Murakami’s life (well, a part of his life). He’s witty, honest, and candid about his running and writing career; his forthrightness is respectable because he’s not trying to be anyone he’s not – just himself.
I devoured this book in two weeks (or less, I think which is a record for me because distractions come up often for me) and it’s a pretty small book.
Anyone interested in Murakami, reading, writing, or memoirs, pick the book up. You will not be disappointed.