Reviews of Memoirs – The Ugly Truth

I’m a huge fan of memoirs.  I love to read how other people live, how they over came obstacles, how they accomplished a grand feat, or how they cheated death.  I love it.  I even wrote a memoir myself called “Fire Girl.”

I don’t know why I do it.. but I read the reader reviews of the book I’m about to read.  First I read the 4 star reviews, but then I find myself looking at the one-star reviews.  I don’t know why I do it to myself, I just get angry.

Have you ever gone to Amazon and read the reviews of people’s memoirs?  Its brutal!  Some people will give a memoir a 1 star rating.  Not for bad writing or for bad grammar and not for being a bad story teller.  No, the memoir gets one star because the reviewer simply didn’t agree with how the author lived their life, or the decisions they made along the way!  What???

Wait a cotton-picking-minute self righteous one-star reviewer… are you sooo perfect that you never made a bad choice?  Was your life so fantastic that that everyone on the planet needs to live by your example?

I recently read a book about a woman who has lived in the Wilderness in Alaska for the past 40 years. Yes, she had an abusive husband that would leave her stranded for months without supplies, and occasionally beat the crap out of her when he did manage to show up with groceries.  But, I gave her 4 stars because her story was simply amazing.  A life that there is no way I could even attempt even if I didn’t have an abusive husband.  But, the one-star reviewers blasted her for not leaving her homestead because of her husband’s behavior. One reviewer said “This is a terrible book, don’t buy it.”  How can someone’s memoir be terrible. Its their LIFE, they lived it!   The author could have left all of the family’s dirty little secrets OUT of the book but she chose not to.  She had her reasons for leaving those ugly parts in.  Now that’s BRAVE and I give her 4 stars just for that alone!

Putting your life out there to be judged is extremely hard.  Not everyone is going to agree with the way you lived your life and they will tell you so. Creeps.

My advice, WRITE YOUR STORY.  IGNORE the one or two star reviews.   These people are not your judge and jury.  They have already purchased your book so… YOU WIN!

Forty Years in the Wilderness by Dolly Faulkner

Fire Girl by Jan Mendoza



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