Friday, January 27, 2006

Hasn't anyone ever heard of "creative nonfiction"?

I haven't read A Million Little Pieces (my book club actually read it this month and met on Wednesday to dicuss, but I've been ducking book club and non-academic reading lately). I haven't, but I still intend to. I think the uproar over the truth of the memoir is fascinating. There's so much posturing, backpedalling, Oprah-consulting. While sympathetic to the positions of those who have been offended over this whole thing, I think that the whole situation has been blown out of proportion. I also think that the quote below, from Oprah: Separating fact from fiction - Countdown with Keith Olbermann - points to a gigantic blind spot in the vision of commentators (and these are people who should know better): there's this whole genre out there - it's called creative nonfiction. I took a course on reading and writing creative nonfiction as an undergrad. I know a lot of people who enjoy reading creative nonfiction, and also a handful of writers of creative nonfiction (and I kind of wonder what they think about this). So, here's Maureen Dowd, commenting on nonfiction that's not "true" being included on the NYT bestseller list:
"Well, I think that we should not put books where the author has admitted that some of it is fiction on the nonfiction list. We should have a separate list for those books, maybe spurious nonfiction, spurless nonfiction, make a new category."

- posted by laurie @ 1/27/2006 02:10:00 PM
well, i've not read the frey book, nor read anything other than blurbs about the oprah stuff lately, but it's making me mad because of exactly what you said: it's creative nonfiction. and that's something i write, and something i enjoy reading. but i don't know what frey says he "made up" versus what is factual, so i have no opinion on this specific book. it's not doing the genre any favors though.
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