What to Include in Memoir

Hard-working mother in college
Memoir isn’t a life story.  That is autobiography.  Memoir is one particular period in a person’s life, one instance or one experience in which the memoirist has come to an epiphany or several epiphanies from that experience and wishes to share that insight with the reader.  Memoir provides insight not merely facts of the experience. 


It is not necessary to include everything that happened in the particular period which the memoirist wishes to share and elucidate to the reader.  The memoir would be too long and rambling if I included every class taken.  After taking over 40 college courses, I decided to write about my experiences in approximately 25 of them.  Of course that’s not all I wrote about.  I focused on the trials and tribulations of raising a family of five children while attending college for ten years, ten of my children’s growing-up years, ten years of assisting my special needs child to achieve her educational goals.


Memoirs encapsulate the important moments, the “aha” moments in the slice of life the memoirist decides to share.  The general, the sameness in experience has no place in memoir.  Memoir needs to be poignant and full of meaning, and in my case, humorous.  For that was a way to cope in the daily grind of going to college as a mother of five.


Has anyone read a good memoir lately that I could add to my reading list?

6 thoughts on “What to Include in Memoir”

  1. Thank you for visiting my blog, Theresa. A slice of life is the only way I can think of to describe memoir as it is not autobiography. If a memoir sticks with you over the years, that's a good thing. Which memoirs stuck with you or who were they about?

    Thanks again, Theresa, for reading my blog post. Please stop by again.

  2. Thank you so much, Michelle. Wouldn't an award be nice. We must remember that anything worth having is worth all the trouble to obtain it, in my case all the work involved with family and college duties.

    Thank you so much for visiting my blog. Please stop by again.

  3. Hi Victoria,

    Something which stuck to me was Ann Best's In The Mirror, A Memoir of Shattered Secrets. I cried and laughed with Ann while reading it.

  4. I follow Ann and have read her posts. I'll check out In The Mirror, A Memoir of Shattered Secrets. This is a great title for a memoir.

    Thanks so much, Nas, for visiting my Adventures in Writing blog. Please stop by again.


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