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Meeeee! – Part 2

About six or seven years ago, the Wall Street Journal reported the rise of memoirs by relative unknowns. I saw one that caught my attention, so I decided to borrow it from the library. Being a bookaholic, I usually purchase my books on Amazon, but this time, I did not. Well, after reading this book, I am glad I chose not to waste my money. This memoir was one of the extreme examples of “Me.” Why did I consider reading this book? Well, it was about a dysfunctional family, as many are. Being a therapist, I usually do not read such displays, but for some reason, I gave this one a try.

EDITOR’S NOTE: SEE PART 1 BELOW⤵︎

Meeeee!

The title of this book will not be shared, although I recall it vividly. I am not here to denigrate or celebrate this author’s narcissistic tell-all about her family. Why? My style does not involve disparaging anyone’s writing or personal account. She received enough criticism, but more about that later. Also, I will not pique anyone’s curiosity even to consider purchasing this book. In my opinion, she does not deserve more sales. If I sound harsh, I am under the cloak of maintaining her anonymity.

Dysfunction On Worldly Display

This woman was emotionally abused and somewhat physically abused by her father. When it comes to both, there are degrees. For someone who has heard far worse, I would agree that her father was indeed a bully, and she had every right to determine the future of her relationship with him. She decided to cut him off along with her mother. Fair enough! That is her choice. At the time of the book’s publication, her relationship with her siblings was distant at the very least.

Their behavior was less than exemplary, but they paid the ultimate price of never seeing their daughter again and not meeting their grandchildren.

I am not here to defend the father except for the fact that both parents sought out therapy. Toward the end of the book, at the suggestion of his therapist, the father drove to the town she was living in and asked to see her. Enduring fear prevented her from even considering this. Again, I get it, but was there any thought about having a mediator or family therapist to even remotely ponder a possible discussion between her and her parents? No! If the damage was that severe, again, I understand, but did she have to tell the world about who her parents were? She created a massive wound on two fronts. Cutting them off was not enough. Oh no, she had to write a revealing book, spotlighted by the Wall Street Journal (good publicist-nothing wrong with that), including her episodes of self-pleasuring. Also, her very flawed parents provided her with a very comfortable living. Their behavior was less than exemplary, but they paid the ultimate price of never seeing their daughter again and not meeting their grandchildren.

Disapproval By The Readers

I wondered if I was alone in my disturbance about this book, so I looked at the Amazon reviews. Surprisingly, most were kind. One reviewer indicated that she felt sad for all involved. No real criticisms at the time of my reading were evident. Well, that was not the case on other sites. When I shared my thoughts about this memoir with our friends’ (both therapists) daughter, she went to Goodreads. The reviewers were not so sparing in their disapproval. Through their eyes, her “Me” focus was unforgiving. In my opinion, as it should have been.

What was she seeking? Fleeting fame and sales of her book that eventually, like so many others, retreat to the dusty shelves of obscurity? Did her therapist support this endeavor of not keeping behind closed doors such explicit details?

We will never know. My question to this author would be, “Was it worth it?”

Elegant Memoirs

Many memoirs discuss details about family dysfunction. Two come to mind, Jennifer Walls’ book, The Glass Castle, and J.D. Vance’s book, Hillbilly Elegy. Both of these authors discussed their flawed families at length. Their books, however, displayed the sheer rawness of the human experience, layered in all of its bittersweet complexity. They, too, suffered embarrassment and emotional abuse but could express their story with humility and pride. Also, they conveyed the understanding of the complicated trajectories of those who did not know better. Ms. Walls did not cut off her family. Mr. Vance devoted his book to his MaMaw, his beloved grandmother. Although the books were about them, woven within their eloquent stories were themes of hope. Their narratives inspire people to be open to the possibilities. With tenacity, resilience, and some luck, everyone can craft new chapters in their books of life, even with fragile beginnings. Many who are hopeless and live under toxic circumstances would benefit from devouring these stimulating books.

What Goes On Behind Closed Doors

As I have indicated many times, being a therapist, I have heard sad and painful stories, but with all of the years I have practiced, I have never seen anyone talk about their families in black and white terms. Also, I have never heard of anyone who wants to create a “me” story like the one I discussed. What I often say to some of my clients is that we must recognize the flaws of their upbringing, not to vilify but to understand. Their wounds and secrets stay with me. I believe that most of them would agree that “what goes on behind closed doors” should not be revealed to the world in such an explicit fashion.

Your Thoughts?

What are your thoughts about detailed memoirs that are unsparing? Do you believe these narratives are a result of our “Me” society? I invite you to share.

Darlene Corbett
Darlene Corbetthttps://darlenecorbett.com/
Darlene Corbett views herself as a life-long learner, a pursuer of excellence, a work-in-progress, and a seeker-of-the-truth. She is also referred to as the "Unstuck Expert" in her many roles. Why? Because for over thirty years, she has been assisting people to get unstuck. Darlene's primary roles are now Therapist, Hypnotherapist, and Author/Writer. Although she loves speaking, it is now secondary and done mainly through her podcast, "Get Unstuck Now. Because of her wealth of experience, Darlene began putting her thoughts on paper.  Many of her blogs can also be found on Medium, Sixty and Me, and DarleneCorbett.com. Penning these articles set the stage for her first book, "Stop Depriving The World of You," traditionally published by Sound Wisdom. Being a believer in pushing oneself as long as one has life, Darlene has tried her hand at fiction, hoping to have something completed by the spring of 2022. Over the years, Darlene has been described as animated or effervescent which contradicts the perception of a psychotherapist. She firmly believes in the importance of being authentic and discusses platinum-style authenticity in her book.

2 COMMENTS

  1. Darlene, I happen to agree with you 100%. Naturally, many authors have penned compelling memoirs, but those, like the one you mentioned, are, to me, the equivalent of “literary selfies.” The sad reality is, we live in a society so self-absorbed, we can’t see the forest for the trees, or one another, for that matter. Outstanding perspective! Love this story.

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