…and what is important for a memoirist is not the factual accuracy of the account but its symmetry.
David Wilkerson’s THE CROSS AND THE SWITCHBLADE is a book that does not call itself a memoir but clearly is a great example of a well structured memoir story. There are many self help Christian books that give you a structure of here are some lessons learned from God juxtaposed with a true story from the author’s life. Mr Wilkerson’s book is written more like a novel. A good page turning novel that opens your eyes to how God works in his life. We see the bigger picture of his failures and his victories and how every decision led to the creation of Teen Challenge. God is an active character in this Christian novel. At least that is what the author believes. Some people may not believe in God so they don’t see God working in their life. They see fate or what ever else they care to lable it.
I bring up this story because when you sit down to write your memoir you may have to think about what role your beliefs will play in your own story. In my memoir God also plays a role in my story. Being raised Catholic you are told that God exist so I viewed life from that central belief. Suicide was always on my mind as a teen but so was the fear that if I killed myself I would go straight to hell. There is even an incident that occurs when I felt that God actually kept me safe from harm.
The Cross and the Switchblade is a memoir about one thing: how I came to be used by God to create a human recycling program called Teen Challenge. From sentence one we are thrust into THAT story. Not a story about his childhood or marraige or much else but just THIS adventure. If you believe in God it might be a good story for you. If you don’t then the story will be far fetched. Either way its a great example of a memoir that is written like a good novel.
My memoir is NOT trying to be a Christian memoir at all but God is in it. As He was and still is in my life.