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Unreliable Truth: On Memoir and Memory
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Unreliable Truth: On Memoir and Memory

4.05  ·  Rating details ·  61 Ratings  ·  8 Reviews
Beginning with the idea that memory is nothing more than "an angle of perception," Murdock explores the recurrent question asked by writers and readers of memoir alike: what actually happened? Prompted by the loss of identity that accompanied her mother’s struggle with Alzheimer’s and subsequent lost memories, Murdock offers that perhaps the faithful recording of the past ...more
Paperback, 176 pages
Published May 23rd 2003 by Seal Press (first published May 2003)
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Connie Tuttle
Nov 02, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: anyone thinking about their lives, any writer
This book is a dense read. I don't mean that it is difficult to understand, it's not. It is often crystalline. Rather, I mean I paused to consider or take in what she said on every page, sometimes every line.
The author talks about memior writing and memory at the same time she is writing a memoir of her journey through/with her mother's loss of memory during her descent into Alzheimer's. What makes us who we are?
Nov 30, 2015 rated it really liked it
Great discussion of the slippery nature of memory and how the underlying myths of our stories relate to memoir writing. References a lot of great memoirs, some that I've read and many that I've added to my list.
Jan 21, 2016 rated it really liked it
There are excerpts of memoir in this book which will make you cry your eyes out. Why? Because good memoir is taking the personal and telling it a way that makes it universal.

Good tips about writing memoir also included.
Apr 28, 2011 rated it really liked it
Lots of great insights. I learned a lot about the memoir writing process. There were times I wished she'd quoted other authors less, and included more of her own thoughts.
Rachel Terry
Mar 18, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: writing
This is a memoir about memory, and it's also a writing book about memoir. The author had a concussion and lost her memory of what happened for the space of 3 hours around the time of concussion. Around the same time, her mother was battling Alzheimer's, and at times she couldn't remember her own name. There are some very interesting reflections about what memory is and how our minds construct "truth" based on our interpretation of events. The author advocates writing memoir as a means of psychot ...more
Patricia Hilliard
Aug 19, 2016 rated it really liked it
This is a very good book for those who are considering writing a memoir. The fact is, memoir is not history, it is not about facts. It is about the way you view the experiences you had and the conclusions you draw from them. The author gives many examples from her own life and encourages the reader to give writing a memoir a try. There's nothing to fear, it's your life from your point of view.
Brian Kennedy
Jan 10, 2012 rated it it was ok
(2.5 stars) I enjoyed the author's well written personal stories in the first half of this book, which is about memory. But the second half of the book, covering memoir writing, seemed a bit redundant, often making the same points over and over. Maybe I've been reading too many "How to Write Memoir" books, but I didn't really pick up anything new here.
Oct 10, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: writing
The author attempts a memoir and a how-to book in the same volume. I'd have given the book five stars, but felt that the personal memories detracted from the book over all. I like this writer's work, so would have preferred two separate books: one on writing, the other a memoir. I found her personal essays distracting because they didn't seem to advance the work.
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Maureen Murdock
Jan 13, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)
Shelves: memoir
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Maureen Murdock is an author, educator, Jungian-oriented psychotherapist and photographer. Maureen teaches memoir writing, which she loves, through UCLA Extension Writers' Program and in workshops throughout the US, Canada, Mexico and Europe. She has a small private psychotherapy practice in Santa Barbara and was Chair and Core faculty of the MA Counseling Psychology Program at Pacifica Graduate I ...more
More about Maureen Murdock
“When you write your memoir you will understand, perhaps for the first time, the significance of your life through the language, images and emotions you craft from the memory.” 0 likes
“Memoirists are our contemporary mythmakers.” 0 likes
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