Last week I wrote a post about how I love a fictional book (loosely) based on a true story. It just somehow captures my imagination – the idea that the author was truly inspired by something that happened in their real life.
But, ironically, I’m not really a fan of non-fiction, even if it’s a personal story. Just the word memoir sets me off yawning. I don’t know why. For some reason, the idea of non-fiction bores me, even though there are many people in this world who have amazing stories to tell about their lives. This is something that I need to get past, I know. I need to broaden my horizons!
How does my love of fiction based on reality and my dislike of non-fiction memoir-type stories make any sense at all? Well, I should probably just chalk it up to my own crazy brain playing tricks on me, but I do think that there are some major differences.
When someone is telling a completely true story, the author has to take the good with the bad. Let’s face it – real life can’t quite live up to fiction most of the time, no matter how cool someone is. For instance, in the book We Should Hang Out Sometime, the author tells the story of his failed relationships, starting with middle school. It was a fun and humorous book, but it started to feel repetitive. Now, if this were a fictional character, we’d be saying, “Where’s the character growth? Why is it taking him so long to learn his lesson?” But, the fact is, this is a real person, not a fictional character. And in real life we often don’t learn from our mistakes as quickly as we’d like. Even when we know there’s something about ourselves that we’d like to change, we can’t always just decide that and then – presto-chango! – it’s fixed! No, making life changes can be hard and it often takes way longer than we’d like it to – even years. Yet, if our fictional characters make the same mistakes for years, we get a little tired of it. We often don’t want to see real life – we want to experience true transformation in the midst of our 300 pages!
But Josh Sundquist (the author of the aforementioned book) was writing a book about his life – it’s not like he could just change the details to make himself look better or to make the story more exciting or to show more personal growth. That’s what happened. Period. And this is the problem with non-fiction. I don’t want real life!
Still, I know there are some fantastic non-fiction stories out there, and I really do need to broaden my horizons. So, tell me, do you read non-fiction? Have you read any gripping non-fiction stories that I should look into? I know that sometimes fact can be just as interesting (and weird) as fiction!