Lauren Slater’s Lying is easily the most ambiguous texts that I have read thus far. Slater keeps the readers engaged throughout the entire memoir by using memories that she is recalling from her childhood. The reader is initially warned by the validity of the memoir by the title “Lying: a metaphorical memoir”. The word metaphorical makes the reader question what the metaphor is and why would she expose her so called memoir as a metaphor? As the book begins, Slater chooses to make the first chapter only two words: “I exaggerate”. By putting this as the first chapter, the entire validity of the memoir is questioned. What is she making up? What actually happened?
As a psychologist, Slater could have very easily made the entire memoir up. But, in my opinion, there is definitely truth in her memoir; hence why I consider it a memoir as well as creative nonfiction. As I have mentioned in a few of my blog posts, creative nonfiction is a collection of real events just stretched and detailed to the audience’s pleasure. The line between creative nonfiction and fiction could be drawn based on how much truth is put into a story. There doesn’t necessarily need to be a percentage of truth versus fiction, but, the boundaries of creative nonfiction lie within more fact than fiction. There needs to be more fact than fiction in creative nonfiction because then there would be a limited sense of trust between the reader and the author. The author should be present throughout the entire event they are reporting on, meaning that if they are reporting on an event, they should be in attendance. However, the presence in the article or essay they are writing, they can include or erase as many things from the event as they want, while keeping the reader in mind. Which, when it comes to Lying, there is a slight sense of distrust between the author and the reader because the reader was warned to be skeptical within the first chapter of the book.
For the sake of selling creative nonfiction, there should be a classification. It would be pretty hard to shelve the books at barnes and noble if there wasn’t a genre to put them in. But, in my opinion, there doesn’t need to be a specific classification of a genre based on authorial presence.