Tuesday, January 19, 2021

Six books that straddle the line between honest & too honest

Michael Leviton is a writer, musician, photographer, and storyteller. He is the host of the storytelling series and podcast The Tell. He has worked as a screenwriter and contributed music to television shows, including HBO’s Bored to Death.

Leviton's new memoir is To Be Honest.

At LitHub he tagged six books that straddle the line between being honest and being too honest, including:
Joyce Maynard, At Home In The World

This memoir tells the story of how Maynard’s upbringing led her to a teenage romance with 53-year-old recluse J.D. Salinger and how that experience influenced the rest of her life. As is the fate of most “too honest” books, this one was met with a lot of vitriol. When it came out, Maynard noted that many critics attempted to insult her with the same script, repeatedly referring to her as “shameless” as if shame were a good thing. Her memoir is very much about unlearning the shame that she was unfairly taught to carry and the critics responded by calling the book “shameless!” When criticized for maligning Salinger, Maynard pointed out that our culture often considers exposing wrongdoing worse than wrongdoing itself. At one of my favorite moments in the book, Maynard confronts Salinger and gives him a chance to tell his side of the story. Truth-tellers often do this –I used to all the time– and barely anyone accepts the invitation. There’s a big difference between those who long to tell their story and those who would never tell their story in a million years.
Read about another entry on the list.

At Home In The World is among Elizabeth Abbott's five best books about inamoratas and other women.

--Marshal Zeringue