A Memoir of Loss: Meghan O’Rourke

February 16, 2011 § 1 Comment

“What I didn’t want the book to be was just an account of my suffering that pretends it’s important simply because I suffered,” says O’Rourke. ” I wanted to write a book about how writing, how the act of making, is redemptive. But I felt that the honest act of making was intimate and raw.” She also followed the old writer’s maxim that one should write the book one wants to read. “The book I needed when my mother died was not a book of pure reflection,” she says, “but a book that both summoned up what it was like when it was happening, because that’s the thing I had no access to, but also that showed that you would come out of the suffering somehow, that it would change.”

From A Profile of Meghan O’Rourke.

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§ One Response to A Memoir of Loss: Meghan O’Rourke

  • I love this comment – “pretends it’s important because I suffered.” That is absolutely true about memoir that is poorly told or redemptive only in the writing, not in the reading. Memoir is about the “shared” human condition. If it is only about the writer’s condition – then it’s a diary entry, not a memoir with true resonating power.

    I think Meghan O’Rourke is very aware of the difference.

    David W. Berner
    Author, Accidental Lessons

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