Sunday, April 12, 2009

Review: I'm Down

I'm Down: a memoir I'm Down: a memoir by Mishna Wolff

My review

rating: 4 of 5 stars
I'm skeptical about memoirs now. It wasn't just James Frey that made me skeptical. Since then, there have been many memoirs, both published and unpublished, that have proven to be false. So, while I very much liked this book, I'm not at all convinced that it was true. The beautiful thing is that it doesn't matter. If it is true, great. I can't wait to read the rest of the story. If it isn't true, great. I can't wait to read the rest of the story.

The writing was engaging and it read like fiction. It moved along fast and there weren't really any lulls to skim through. I almost wish this book was fiction, because that would make the narrator a lot more reliable. When I was reading this, I kept thinking "This is how YOU saw it. But I wonder how it really was." Which isn't to say, of course, that she deliberately lied. But, if these things are happening to you, then of course you're going to spin them with your own interpretation. That, and you're only privvy to the conversations you had access to.

The other thing was that the book ended too soon. Unless she's planning to do another one, and maybe she is, I thought it ended way too early. What happened in high school? What happened with her parents? What happened post high school? I know it was supposed to be about her "growing up" but it just seemed to end in an awkward place. I wanted to know more. I suppose wanting to know more is the best compliment you can give a memoir.

If you're planning to read this book (and from the cover how could you NOT want to read it) don't expect any deep philosophical answers about race relations (or anything else) from it. Expect to be entertained, and you won't be disappointed.

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