Modern Memoir: Are Blogs the New Memoirs?
April 4, 2010
In my very first post, I mentioned that Marya Hornbacher‘s “Wasted: A Memoir of Anorexia and Bulimia” is my favorite memoir and–although I still don’t believe it–she’s agreed to speak with me later this week.
What sets Hornbacher’s memoir apart from others I’ve read is her ability to share painful memories and raw details with her readers without appearing to over sensationalize them. “Wasted” was published in 1998, but even read in the post-James Frey world there is no doubt that Hornbacher is being honest in her writing.
Recently I’ve discovered a new world, a world that reminds me of Hornbacher’s. Mostly women (and a few men) with different psychological disorders and addictions are taking to blogging to aid in their recovery. Known as “recovery blogs,” people use these sites to write daily or every few days about the status of their recovery.
Hornbacher’s book chronicles her battle with anorexia and bulimia and many of the recovery blogs are written by people fighting the same disorders. One day, while wasting time on Facebook, I came across two twin sisters who I have a few friends in common with. They are both recovering from anorexia and they each have their own recovery blog. Every few days they share details about what they’ve been doing and, even more so, how they’ve been feeling. They reflect on their progress and share difficult moments that have left them struggling with recovery. (Even though their blogs are public, I want to ask their permission before posting the links to them here.)
When I’m reading these blogs, I can’t help but feel that I’m reading “Wasted.” The only difference between the two is the tense of the writing: Hornbacher wrote about the past and these bloggers write about the present. Hornbacher and these girls battle the same painful eating disorder, but they also have the same desire to share their struggle with others. Later this week, when I interview Hornbacher, I’m going to ask her what she thinks of recovery blogs and try to pinpoint what motivates her, and these girls, to make their stories public.