Monday, January 31, 2011

Venom at the NY Times Book Review

You must read a piece entitled “The Problem with Memoirs” in the January 30, 2011 New York Times Book Review. Neil Genzlinger, a Times staff editor, turns gunslinger and assassinates three of the four memoirs he reviews. The first book is skewered with the comment that with the exception of one anecdote involving Amy Carter, “The rest belongs on a blog.” [Obviously, he has never read my blog.]

The second book is pilloried with passages such as this one, “…the reader will need a hug after choking down this orgy of self-congratulation and self-pity.” And the author is chastised as “immature.” The gunslinger calls the third memoir an “…appalling example of coattail grabbing.”

Mean-spirited to say the least, but I feel compelled to take gunslinger to task for what I would say is a major mixing of metaphors at the end of his fourth paragraph. It reads as follows: “Three of the four did not need to be written, a ratio that probably applies to all memoirs published over the last two decades. Sorry to be so harsh, but this flood just has to be stopped. We don’t have that many trees left.”


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