Some might say it really isn’t fair to slag someone’s memoir before I’m even done reading the whole thing but – holy Hannah – I’m three chapters in and I’m already tempted to skip several pages at a time!
The memoir in question is Falling Backwards by Jann Arden, I woman whose voice I love and whose humour I admire. So what’s wrong with the book? Well, lots so far. It’s completely chronological and lacks any zip! It’s composed of every memory, no matter how insignificant, of her life, from birth (remembered by her Mom) to where we are right now when she is 8. Autobiographies have come a long way. The writer no longer has to start with, I was born here and then we moved here and then I ate garbage and got worms. This one is so linear and so, well, boring. I guess I’m hoping someone who has read it will tell me it’s worth it to stick with it.
I may have been spoiled by recently reading Rob Lowe’s Stories I Only Tell My Friends. Yes, he told some childhood tales but every one of the stories was part of what shaped the Rob we came to know as an actor and public figure. He only spent time on the important stuff, not ALL the stuff.
I think Arden is a rare talent and I’m interested to know about how her career developed and anything else to do with the artist she became. But right now it’s mild torture. I could not care any less about the terribly ordinary stories she is telling. It’s like eating a big, bland meal in hopes a tasty dessert will follow.