I love reading memoirs. I love how for those few minutes, or even better hours, that one spends immersed in the storyline of the book, one is given the permission to view the world’s issues – be it gender, war, love, loss, psychological, illness, spirituality, the sacred human connection, etc. – through the point of view of another being. It honestly is one of the most inexpensive, therapeutic and calming ways of improving, developing and enhancing one’s ideas of the world and its inhabitants – something I find to be of topmost priority to me during these few years of transitioning from a clueless teenager to a (hopefully) more well-versed adult. Michael Scott said it right, “The day we stop learning is the day we die.”
Hands down, my favourite kind of memoir has got to be the kinds where the protagonist’s plot is centred around his/ her coming of age. Sometimes with their development of identity, one starts to find parallels between their own lives and the character’s lives and perhaps feelings for the character may surface – pity, empathy, concern, or maybe even joy, to name a few. Being able to feel for the character puts one in such a vulnerable, confusing yet excited state as the lines between one’s own reality and the character’s reality start to fade. I personally find being able to empathise/ have emotions evoked about another person to be one of the most raw, most beautiful and definitely most endearing ability of a human.
As one of my favourite people in the world said, “The ability to feel portrays the truest form of a human being, never forget how to do that.” Ergo, I suppose that by reflecting on one’s own ability to respond to a character in the memoir or rather the whole entirety of the book, one can learn a thing or two about oneself as well. What a blessing it is to exist in an era when memoirs seems to have taken the literature scene by storm.