Biography, Autobiography, Memoir discussion


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message 1: by Selina (new)

Selina (literatelibrarian) | 2330 comments Is this a particular category do you think, or are all memoirs in a sense tell-alls?

Sometimes I think, I'm just being nosy about someone's life here, but the fact they were brave enough to write it all out, even the bad stuff, makes me think as a reader, I have some kind of relationship with the writer, even if they are telling me stuff they won't admit to anyone else, but they've just bared their soul to me.

It could be an illusion though, and they are all in fact, narcissists. What do you think?
Most of the time someone has a story they just got to share, that could amuse or help someone, but other times, it just seems tedious name dropping, or trying to justify themselves in some way.
Am I the only one to think this way? Like, oh thanks for sharing your dirty laundry with me. Now what do I do with this information...kind of thing.

message 2: by S (last edited Jun 05, 2016 09:00AM) (new)

S | 2 comments Hello Selina,

Forgive me I am new and don't generally write in these forums but your question struck a chord in me.

In my case, my book is extremely revealing in every way imaginable, but in truth, I did not set out to write a book. The pain is in there in vivid detail, but so is the joy. I found it very cathartic to write but it also makes it very difficult to find a beta reader. I feel it a tremendous struggle to hand my life over to someone. So your comment about having a relationship really makes sense to me and I completely agree it is a baring of soul. Personally, I think that after reading that you are in some way you are now connected with the writer and that is exactly what I would hope for.

I do feel many are brave to write out their life for others to read. Perhaps the illusion part might come down to the type of memoir? Or how the objective of the writer comes across to the reader. If someone writes a book about being successful for example, perhaps that is where the flag waving and name dropping could come into play. And I am in no way condemning those books, only pointing out a possible difference. But for everyday people, who spill their life's blood onto a page for others to read, I think it takes great courage.

Again, for me. I did not set out to write a book at all. I don't even consider myself a writer really and this was the first book I've ever written. Surely there are others like me, that were compelled to write their stories then and struggle to find the courage to then share it with others. I would hope that if someone read my book, I would fall into your first paragraph. :) That seems like a wonderful attitude to have and certainly what I would want.

Maybe there is an even more granular distinction between a tell-all and a tell-about. A tell-all might be more like an in-depth sharing of sorts of the writers life. It would tell the good with the bad in the hopes of touching or resonating with the reader. A tell-about might come off more like a book that is simply cataloging the life or successes of the writer and he/she may not care as much if the reader connects or can relate.

It's a wonderful question and I'm sure there are many more reasons from someone to write a memoir or autobiography than I have discussed. Take care and have a wonderful day.

message 3: by Koren (new)

Koren  (koren56) | 2832 comments Mod
Interesting question Selina and also interesting response from Sebastien.

The best autobiography I have read in a while was Even This I Get To Experience by Norman Lear. When I was done I felt like I was leaving a good friend. It was no holds barred. He told the good with the bad. I didnt feel like he was leaving anything out.

My question is: Why are we so fascinated with others lives, especially celebrity lives? I dont know the answer to that. Do we have the right to expect that they will share everything with us? To me the best autobiographies are the ones that I feel nothing has been hidden and are not just 'look what I have done with my life'.

My feeling about why the average person (and maybe a celebrity) writes an autobiography is that we all want to leave something for others to remember us. I think the biggest fear people have about death is that no one will remember them. By writing a memoir we leave something for our families and others to remember us. I wish my ancestors had written something about their lives. By the time I was old enough to care they were gone.

message 4: by S (new)

S | 2 comments Koren, I believe that is a really good point. Leaving something behind is a wonderful reason. I also think that when you feel nothing is hidden it adds something to the story. A personal feel rather than just an account of accomplishments, and that's not bad either. I also wish that I had something written from or about my family. I would love to have read about them. As it happened, I was adopted so I have little to nothing that points to my family history. I suppose there could be something out there, and I just don't know about it.

message 5: by Karin (new)

Karin | 247 comments I don't think that all memoirs are tell-alls; some only discuss part of a person's life, for example. Others aren't necessarily revealing everything that went on, but just aspects they want the reader to know. Some most definitely are tell-alls.

message 6: by Selina (new)

Selina (literatelibrarian) | 2330 comments Thats true.
What does everyone feel about tell-alls. Is there such a thing?
Or maybe a tell-some. Or a tell-everybody.

'All' could mean anyone who's interested. A tell-all, not necessarily a blow by blow account of all the minutae of one's life. Although some memoirs are like that, and consequently, excriciating to read, like too much information.

I recall this biography I heard about, that I didn't read, but it was by an obsessed fan and was called something like 'Day by Day chronicle of Judy Garland' and it was just a record of EVERY SINGLE THING Judy Garland did for every day that she ever lived.


message 7: by Fishface (new)

Fishface | 1642 comments I think many, many biographies are far from "tell-alls." To me it is a specific subgenre -- tell-alls get far underneath the official version of a story from the POV of someone who was there and who really knows.

Example: Before I Kill More is the official version of the Lipstick Murders. William Heirens: His Day in Court/Did an Innocent Man Confess to Three Grisly Murders? is the defendant's tell-all version of the crimes.

There are a dozen books out on the JonBenet Ramsey killing, but I am still waiting for her brother Burke's tell-all autobiography of the night his sister was killed.

message 8: by Selina (new)

Selina (literatelibrarian) | 2330 comments Well, the bodyguard who was with Princess Diana when she died in the car crash wrote a memoir but he couldn't remember anything prior to the crash after they left the Ritz hotel.

message 9: by Selina (new)

Selina (literatelibrarian) | 2330 comments Not sure I am fascinated with Princess Diana I think she created her own media blitz back in the day and I suppose what makes her so fascinating would be her marriage was a sham, and that she was really acting a part, and she was a literal drama princess.

So when she wrote 'Diana her true story' or got it ghost written I suppose it took a lot of people by surprise that her marriage that was picture perfect was so rocky. It would have been hard for her to be totally honest when she was living a lie. So maybe thats why she decided to 'tell all' and not just in a book but also that interview.

Anyone else maybe would have kept it quiet and tolerated a mistress, but she didn't, so in some ways you have to admire her for gumption. Even if it backfired.

message 10: by Selina (last edited Jun 09, 2016 09:11PM) (new)

Selina (literatelibrarian) | 2330 comments Would the Diary of Anne Frank or something like the Journals of Sylvia Plath be considered a 'tell-all'.

Plath has come to mind lately, I don't know its just there are some things we may never know WHY she ended her life.

An easy explanation is that she suffered mental illness, but that doesn't really tell us anything. In her book the Bell Jar it seemed to be over-dramatics from a teen grieving over the loss of her dad and murky future, but later when she married and had two children, she was at a different stage of her life, so what happened then? We don't know as much of her last journals were burned, whether it was a cheating husband or what. If I were in her shoes I wouldn't have taken it on myself if I was feeling vengeful it would be the husband I'd top not myself. (not that I would but you know, suicide don't make no sense). If it was rooted in inadequacy what could have pushed her over the edge?

There was no suicide note as such. Puzzling.

message 11: by Fishface (new)

Fishface | 1642 comments Well, there's hardly ever a suicide note. She had a lot of little things eating at her and being prone to depression, she apparently just didn't feel she could get through. That's reason enough for a lot of people.

message 12: by Selina (new)

Selina (literatelibrarian) | 2330 comments I just think its weird how she ended it when her two children were small, like she didn't really care about them.

She may have hated her husband, I don't know, but her children as well? anyway. They weren't to know, but she could have written something for them I don't know saying 'mum loves you very much but she's going to a better place, and so and so can be your mum'. or something along those lines.

If I were to write a somewhat happier ending.

message 13: by Selina (new)

Selina (literatelibrarian) | 2330 comments I mean, if she had foresight enough to fill their milk bottles, and she was a writer, she could have done that. She didn't make it look like an accident though -it wasn't like their dad could tell them mum didn't know how to work the oven.

message 14: by Fishface (new)

Fishface | 1642 comments Suicides spend years convincing themselves that they are a burden to others and their families, even their children, would be much better off without them. They wind up killing themselves with the thought that they're helping their families. Hey, if she didn't care she wouldn't have opened the baby's window and blocked the space under the door with a wet towel so they wouldn't be affected by the gas...

message 15: by Selina (new)

Selina (literatelibrarian) | 2330 comments yes, but she could have left a note or something, I mean she WAS a writer...
It's very sad and disturbing. I heard later that one of her grown up children ended his life as well.

It tends to be the high achievers that end up suicidal. van Gogh, Judy Garland, Plath...

I want to blame the mothers I really do for placing huge expectations on them that they cannot live up to. In Plath's case, since her dad died, it just seemed her mother expected her to look after her (she had a brother..he seemed to come through all right) but also have a family as just seems, a kind of misplaced burden that crushed them.

anyway, enough of my amateur psychoanalysis. What are your thoughts. Writers are compelled to write, is it a kind of confession.

message 16: by Selina (new)

Selina (literatelibrarian) | 2330 comments Ok now I'm intrigued enough to seek out this biography.
It's so strange, a writer orchestrates her own death and it becomes a real life whodunnit. Well we know whodunnit but we don't know whyshedidit. So she ends up creating this mystery surrounding herself leaving only journals and letters as clues.

message 17: by Selina (new)

Selina (literatelibrarian) | 2330 comments Am currently reading The Wolf of Wall Street
I wonder if this can be rightly called a 'tell-all'.
Does a tell-all need to have all the dirt. Or is it 'warts and all'.

Certainly someone can 'tell all' about someone they were a secretary to, I've read those kinds of memoirs too. Usually after that person is dead though.

message 18: by Fishface (new)

Fishface | 1642 comments Gee, to me a "tell-all" equals "all the dirt." You can still leave a lot out of "warts and all."

message 19: by Selina (new)

Selina (literatelibrarian) | 2330 comments I thought of one I read of Judy Garland's agent telling all about her client's drug abuse and also her love-life. Judy & Liza & Robert & Freddie & David & Sue & Me...: A Memoir

its a recent one but imagine having that on your conscience for 40 odd years. The trauma of it - Judy trying to kill herself, and you being the only one there at the time.

message 20: by Selina (new)

Selina (literatelibrarian) | 2330 comments I'm wondering if I ought to find more 'clean' books to read rather than sordid tales of scandal and mischief all the time.

However, I must read Mad Girl's Love Song: Sylvia Plath and Life Before Ted to find out just what made Plath go mad.
My conclusions so far is she liked the occult too much and thought of herself as a witch. This biography notes that when she was a child her mother used to sing to her the tale of Lorelei and Plath wanted to be like her, cause men to fall in love with her, then self-destruct afterwards when her spell doesn't work anymore.

message 21: by Fishface (last edited Jul 08, 2016 12:06PM) (new)

Fishface | 1642 comments Sylvia Plath thought of herself as a witch!? I've read a couple of books about her and they never mentioned that. At all! Sylvia Plath: Method and Madness seemed to answers that question -- what her depression was about -- without touching on the occult.

message 22: by Selina (new)

Selina (literatelibrarian) | 2330 comments Lorelei, the sorceress.
She once wrote a poem saying she was Lady Lazarus and it was about eating men like air. Also interesting is she invoked lucifer in that poem.
And I do remember one biography, probably not that one, mentioning that she was involved in occult or dabbled with it. She certainly read a lot of dead peoples works and possibly channelled them. She was very quite a morbid person underneath the sunny exterior. in the movie Sylvia, played by Gwyneth Paltrow, I remember her saying she conjured up things.
She certainly had a vivid imagination and would project her own desires on other people.
Anyway I finished reading that book about Life Before Ted and it seemed she had many affairs before marrying him, which she did in order to make another man jealous.
What is clear to me is she shows the traits of a narcissist. Borderline personality may be extreme, I once thought it was bipolar disorder but it was more pathological than just ups and downs. She had abandonment issues but really it was guilt over her dad's some way she had wished him dead. How could she live with that?
In another disturbing admission is that when she was suicidal she wanted her mother to die with her. If not a witch then definitely a vampire...she used people as material for her writing all her life.

message 23: by Fishface (new)

Fishface | 1642 comments Hey, better to use them in her writing than the sexual use-'em-and-throw-'em-away technique she was practicing on men.

message 24: by Selina (new)

Selina (literatelibrarian) | 2330 comments I think she did both.
One of the girls she based a character on the Bell Jar sued her estate for defamation. Many of the women depicted in that novel recognised themselves but didn't like the way Plath skewered them, and wrote things that weren't true. Even her own mother, well she had her own version of what happened that didn't quite match up with Plath's depiction. Having said that, her mother was culpable too.
It was an extremely damaging book and a betrayal of many that thought they knew her. She only lived a few months after publication though, it was written under a pseudonym, and only released in the UK. Writer's revenge? I don't know. To relive a suicide attempt through fiction, and then attempt it again later but differently...suggests she wasn't well when she wrote it either, I think it must have triggered something in her to dig up the past.

message 25: by Selina (new)

Selina (literatelibrarian) | 2330 comments Maybe the reason why Plath was such a brilliant writer was she knew she was going to die young and so deliberately wrote stuff to leave behind.

That is why there's so much documentation of the minutae of her life.

Now an ordinary person would not think about this so much. An ordinary person, lives their life and doesn't necessarily spend every moment of their life analysing themselves and everyone around them.

Plaths problem was she got the writing bug from a very young age. She hadn't lived enough life to experience everything a writer ought to and so was precocious in a way. She should have become a journalist first before a poet and then would have legitimately made money and had experiences reporting on the job while earning a living. But the only avenues open to her at the time were Mademoiselle glossies.

Margaret Mitchell was a reporter for the Atlanta paper, she didn't worry about the dichotomy of being a writer and housewife, and wrote GWTW while recovering from a ski accident. she didn't have ambitions, like Sylvia did of becoming famous. But then again she wasn't a poet.

However, Sylvia's prose is far more memorable than her poetry which to me is just disturbing. Some writers like to dabble in the dark side and think that, when they do that they are exposing something everyone should know about. But the reason it stays in the dark is because its actually not good to have it out in the open - to shock and disturb people all the time isn't necessarily a good thing.

message 26: by Anthony (new)

Anthony Stancomb (anthonystancombgmailcom) Selina wrote: "Maybe the reason why Plath was such a brilliant writer was she knew she was going to die young and so deliberately wrote stuff to leave behind.

That is why there's so much documentation of the min..."

I agree with you on almost all of what you say, but in many cases it does our world good to read things that shock and disturb. Some artists consider it to be the main role of their art.

message 27: by Selina (new)

Selina (literatelibrarian) | 2330 comments I would consider it a difference to have suffered and wrote about it to deliberately suffering for the sake of art.

message 28: by Anthony (new)

Anthony Stancomb (anthonystancombgmailcom) Selina wrote: "I would consider it a difference to have suffered and wrote about it to deliberately suffering for the sake of art."

Yes there is certainly an element of that in her work - what a lot of stuff must have been whirling around in her head.

message 29: by Selina (last edited Jul 14, 2016 01:27PM) (new)

Selina (literatelibrarian) | 2330 comments Well after the mad Plath books I am now reading My Story which is nice and clean.

Its about the guy who wrote 'Every day with Jesus' devotionals. He's 75 years old when he wrote it and the purpose is looking back on his life and how far he has come. I'm sure he wrote it for his grandchildren as well as an encouragement for others he's worked with.

Enjoyable so far, especially talking about the Welsh revival.

message 30: by Selina (new)

Selina (literatelibrarian) | 2330 comments hmm the first part of My story by Selwyn Hughes was interesting but with many memoirs as they get to adulthood I find the anecdotes get less interesting. Does anyone else find that?

When you've lived to a grand age I suppose it all becomes a bit of a blur and you end up just listing your achievements as an adult and the people you connect with. (who end up dying).

In this book, his wife died of cancer and then his sons died, one of a heart attack and one from drinking. Which seems to me really tragic and I think that he was so busy being a minister that his family life went astray. He did admit this in his memoir being away from home all the time placed a strain on his marriage.

So even christian ministers have faults. Also, he did boast a bit about his achievements and I'm thinking how can he remember all this stuff, but then neglect his children who were dealing with serious issues at the time.

At the end it had an epilogue and afterward because now he's passed away, and many people wrote in tributes. I didn't notice any from his daughters in-law or grandchildren but maybe I missed it.

message 31: by Anthony (last edited Jul 20, 2016 01:33PM) (new)

Anthony Stancomb (anthonystancombgmailcom) I think his childre/grandchildren not contributing says it all.
Dd you ever read 'Hawaii' or the biography of Pearl S Buck?

message 32: by Selina (new)

Selina (literatelibrarian) | 2330 comments Hawaii? Is that a biography?
I've read the Good Earth by Pearl S Buck.

message 33: by Selina (new)

Selina (literatelibrarian) | 2330 comments Well, his children died, both of them. He only had two sons. So obviously they couldn't contribute! But it does seem weird that he didn't write about them much, or even the names of his grandchildren. But apparently they had troubled marriages. So maybe there were splits, I don't know, he didn't 'tell-all' and anyway it wasn't a book about their lives.

But from the tributes it is clear that he had an influence all around the world for people that read his devotionals.

message 34: by Selina (new)

Selina (literatelibrarian) | 2330 comments Maybe a memoir is more of a tell-all than an autobiography.

A memoir can take a specific moment in time and explore it, whereas with an autobiography you trying to tell your whole life story. Some things are bound to be overlooked.

I much prefer memoirs.

But then some people manage to combine both and that's quite satisfying. Shania Twain's book was one that seemed to tell-all as she was quite open and honest about all that went down in her life, from her abusive parents marriage to breaking into the music world, and her thoughts on fame, and then her marriage that her husband cheated on her.

message 35: by Fishface (new)

Fishface | 1642 comments Christian ministers can be just as flawed as anybody, that's for sure. Look at Jim Jones! Roy Harringer! Fred Neulander! (Not a Christian, but still.) Velio Estrada! Ronald Joling! Michael Turner! Jimmy Swaggart and his colleague, Jim Baker! I could go on and on!

message 36: by Selina (new)

Selina (literatelibrarian) | 2330 comments I haven't heard of any of those except for Jim Baker.
Did they write tell-alls?

message 37: by Fishface (last edited Jul 22, 2016 03:52PM) (new)

Fishface | 1642 comments Selina wrote: "I haven't heard of any of those except for Jim Baker.
Did they write tell-alls?"

Not even Jim Jones!? Most of these guys are in the news, or have had true-crime paperbacks written about them, because of their chicanery, theft, embezzlement, sexual abuse, picking up undercover police officers at rest stops asking to pay them for sex, or murders. In Jim's case, nearly 900 murders in a single day.

message 38: by Selina (last edited Jul 23, 2016 07:48PM) (new)

Selina (literatelibrarian) | 2330 comments no...are they all american? Americans have a weird type of religion thats almost like cults. So they might say they christian and end up being crooks like the Elmer Gantry story.

I just think, well they not even christian anyway they just faking it. it wouldn't be newsworthy in my part of the world (nz).

We just have small-time charismatic cults like Bobbie Houstons 'hillsong church' and Brian Tamaki 'destiny church'.

Actually I have read Tamaki's memoir. The thing is, if you do start up your own church you might have good intentions but then it all gets out of hand. People start worshipping the leader instead of who they really meant to be worshipping.

message 39: by Selina (last edited Jul 23, 2016 07:55PM) (new)

Selina (literatelibrarian) | 2330 comments Religious cult tell-alls are actually quite interesting.

I've read ones by former members of JW, mormons, hillsong, scientology, christian scientists, hare krishnas, communists, fundamentalist christians, amish, hutterites, green hippies, exclusive brethren, catholics, nation of islam, moonies ....I could go on.

message 40: by Koren (new)

Koren  (koren56) | 2832 comments Mod
Selina wrote: "Religious cult tell-alls are actually quite interesting.

I've read ones by former members of JW, mormons, hillsong, scientology, christian scientists, hare krishnas, communists, fundamentalist chr..."

I'm a little confused. Several of the religions you mentioned are not cults, unless you are talking about sects that have broken from the main church.

message 41: by Selina (last edited Jul 24, 2016 01:48PM) (new)

Selina (literatelibrarian) | 2330 comments well, sects that became cult-like.
Most all the people that wrote these tell-alls had left what they were originally in because it became abusive.

that's why it's a 'tell-all'. So that people don't fall into the same trap.

message 42: by Fishface (last edited Jul 24, 2016 04:24PM) (new)

Fishface | 1642 comments Plenty of minor religions that ended in disaster get dismissed as cults -- the People's Temple being a really good example. But I can't believe, Selina, that news of the Jonestown massacre never made it to New Zealand! If you want an excellent tell-all on that sorry tale, may I recommend Awake in a Nightmare: Jonestown, the Only Eyewitness Account, The Onliest One Alive: Surviving Jonestown, Guyana or The Strongest Poison: How I Survived the Jonestown, Guyana, Massacre -- just three of the innumerable I'm-the-sole-survivor-of-Jonestown autobiographies out there. The first one is the best, in my opinion.

message 43: by Selina (last edited Jul 25, 2016 12:56PM) (new)

Selina (literatelibrarian) | 2330 comments well, it was probably before I was born, so...I wouldn't have heard of it. I know some of it, as its been mentioned in passing but not all the gory details.

I do remember hearing about the Waco thing though. And Heaven's Gate. They all thought they would be beamed up in a space ship or something and drank poisonous kool-aid.

message 44: by Coni (new)

Coni Hase (bvnni) | 1 comments I think this related genre is more of a spectrum rather than stringent classification (e.g. either an autobio, a memoir, or a tell-all). While there are many books that blur the line between two of the three mentioned, there are still books that hold hard and fast to the 'rules' of one in both their structure and content.

To me, Tell-Alls are written by someone (in)famous about either a specific situation or an era of activity that is controversial, groundbreaking, shrouded in mystery, or intensely popular. Usually, they don't pull any punches and seem to include a lot of things an autobiography would never 'lower itself' to include and a few things that are too explicit or controversial for even a memoir. You do get some backstory on the author as an individual, but usually it's just enough to give context due to the focus being on select happenings and not on them as a person (per se). They also tend to include a fair amount of personal perspective/opinions on the players involved, decisions made, outcomes. Examples: A celebrity/entertainer using a book to discuss chiefly their marriages, focus on drug addiction/recovery, a specific creative era of their career or project (concert, film, book, album, etc). A politician/government official writing about negotiations on legislation/deals, behind the scenes of the mechanics of congress, campaigns. Law enforcement, witnesses, victims writing about a specific crime or perpetrator or investigation.

Autobios, in my opinion, are usually very sanitised and carefully crafted. There's an emphasis on vetting, facts, timelines, and the like. The focus is on a (hopefully) complete discussion of the individual's life -- their up-bringing, family members, relationships, education, professional life, success, failures. I wouldn't be surprised to find certain people or events left out of or barely mentioned in Autobios if the info is believed to negatively impact the person's brand or professional life or just reveals something way too personal for their taste. Some can be as bad as being poorly disguised PR exercises to rehab/reinvent a public person's image while others are very thorough but lack a certain personal/emotional touch that can be found in Tell-Alls and memoirs. Speaking of --

So, memoirs are kinda like the hybrid between autobios and tell-alls in my experience. They're very personal. There will be a structure of facts and timelines (like an autobio), but there will also be very colourful, contentious subject matter (similar to a tell-all). The focus seems to usually be on the person's thoughts, feelings and analysis of different parts of their life. Facts, yes. Some raunchy stuff, perhaps. But nothing either entirely indecent or overly censored. These books are about the person speaking their truth, communicating more directly with the public. They want their voice heard, their perspective understood.

Why do people write these? Well, are there narcissists in the land? Sure. But, I think part of what happens when you're a public person is you tend to lead a very dynamic life. And now, in the modern day, if you lead a very dynamic life, you eventually become a public person. You've got stories and lessons to tell, you tell them. Some people get a bad rap in their industry/society after certain things went down or poor lifestyle decisions. Gossip, lies, mistakes can all taint that person in the public's eye and even greatly impacting (negatively) their life. Perhaps they feel that their only option is to put out a book and try to give their side or insider information on what really happened that the press wasn't privy to or had been distorted by sources. Maybe they've survived traumas or lived through very rough times and want to educate and guide others. This could be their therapy and release of their past. Encouragement, positivity, knowledge.

Some are brave and commendable. Others are self-serving and desperate. It's typically pretty easy to figure out which is which when you read them. There's so much that we can learn from each other and our respective journeys and just the human condition. I'll always be a strong cheerleader for memoirs, tell-alls, and autobios. They deserve more respect.

message 45: by Selina (last edited Jul 29, 2016 12:40PM) (new)

Selina (literatelibrarian) | 2330 comments I liked Lorna Lufts memoir of what it was like being Judy Garland's daughter. She was honest and I admire that, she told both good things and bad.

And it didn't end up being neurotic and also she 's not a huge superstar like her half-sister so has no reason to varnish the truth.

message 46: by Selina (last edited Jul 29, 2016 12:43PM) (new)

Selina (literatelibrarian) | 2330 comments A tell-all could be more like a journalistic expose do you think?

Whistleblowing genre? Or maybe, confessional journalism. I've read many memoirs/autobiographies that were 'confessions of a.....'

Also I quite enjoyed the Bablylon series. Hotel Babylon, Air Babylon, Fashion Babylon, Pop Babylon, Beach Babylon. I don't know if shes done anymore but the narrator is an anonyous insider who tells all about the industry.

message 47: by Fishface (last edited Jul 30, 2016 12:24PM) (new)

Fishface | 1642 comments Selina wrote: "
I do remember hearing about the Waco thing though. And Heaven's Gate. They all thought they would be beamed up in a space ship or something and drank poisonous kool-aid. "

The poisonous Kool-Aid -- to be TOTALLY accurate, it was Flavoraid -- was actually ingested by people at Jonestown. The Heaven's Gate gang sipped more sophisticated cocktails of phenobarb and vodka. And there were only 39 Heaven's Gate suicides (plenty of others still await the spaceship) while Jonestown killed somewhere between 898 and 914 people -- every place I look I see a different number. But far too many.

message 48: by Selina (new)

Selina (literatelibrarian) | 2330 comments whoa.
What year was that?
It would have been before I was born or too young to know really.

message 49: by Selina (new)

Selina (literatelibrarian) | 2330 comments according to wiki, 1978, and 909 american civilians were killed. I had no idea.
It then says that was the biggest death toll of american civilians before 9/11 ( I don't know how many died in that, was it thousand?)
I don't count up deaths or remember tragic things like that.

Some people can become obsessed with disasters and tragedies. Like my brother was always into reading books about the Titanic.

message 50: by Fishface (last edited Aug 01, 2016 01:32PM) (new)

Fishface | 1642 comments 2,996 people died in the 9/11 attacks, although that number, too, is far from being carved in stone -- they just don't know for sure who happened to be in the buildings that day. There was so little left of many of the victims...

A really good tell-all, from my POV, involves whistleblowing. I just heard of a new one (not biographical, but investigative) called The White Slaves of England, about people dying from exposure to various poisons in unregulated factories in the 1800s.

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