Welcome back to another Write On Purpose book review. Each week, I review a well-written book, highlighting what makes it good from the reader’s perspective and what writing skills and techniques make it an irresistible read. Thus, each review serves both writers and readers.
This week I depart from fiction book reviews to cover a memoir. Perhaps this is a bit selfish on my part, as I am starting to write a memoir of my own, but I haven't yet reviewed a memoir, so why not, right?
Memoir VS Autobiography
Perhaps you, like many people, have some confusion about the difference between a memoir and an autobiography. They're really not synonyms.
An autobiography covers the span of a person's life. I tell my mentoring students that unless you're a gigantic name like Oprah or Donald Trump, or unless you've had a life that is off-the-bell-curve remarkable, people probably don't want to read your entire life story.
A memoir, on the other hand, doesn't require you to be a superstar in order for people to want to read it, because it's a slice of your life, covering a particular theme or experience.
Keep in mind that book genres can be as much a blend of diverse elements as the population of the USA. Many books combine several genres. My first boo, I'll Push You Steer, with which Bonnie K. Tesh and I co-authored, is a compilation of short pieces by each of us about living with our "disabilities" in a positive way. This book can be considered a memoir. We didn't cover our lives birth to present.
so now on to the review of As You Wish by Cary Elwes, AKA Wesley in the movie The Princess Bride.
As you Wish: Inconceivable Tales from The Princess Bride by Cary Elwes
The Princess Bride is the little movie that could. Now an iconic movie and a cult classic, at the time it was a huge gamble.
Iocaine powder, "Mostly dead," the Dread Pirate Roberts, "I am not left handed," "As you wish," "Inconceivable," and so many more classic quotable lines and memorable characters are part of our culture now.
I feel so incredibly OLD when I realize how long ago this movie came out, and I have loved it since the first time I saw it.
Those of us who love the movie can practically speak the lines with the actors, but at the time, it could have been a flop.
What makes As You Wish a Memorable Memoir
1. A Peek Behind the Curtain
Ok sure, a big part of it is the iconic movie and it's phenomenal cast. A memoir of this nature gives us fans a behind-the-scenes glimpse into the making of one of our favorite films of all times.
I loved hearing about how many months of training went into creating that iconic fight scene and learning how they handled Andre the Giant's back problems so he didn't get hurt.
One of my favorite glimpses was the story of Cary Elwes breaking his toe because he just couldn't resist playing on a machine he had no business riding. BUt who can blame him for wanting an adventure?
2. The Person Behind the Character
For me what I love about memoirs is discovering the true character of the person or people involved. How did the cast deal with the various challenges on a personal human level?
Elwes shares how he broke his toe and tried to cover it up because he felt so foolish for handling a machine on which he had no experience or training. He talks about the humor and generosity of Andre the Giant.
Elwes reveals his own foibles and struggles as a person and as an actor throughout the book. He shares the human side of how the PEOPLE overcame the difficulties that arose. This made it a good memoir.
3. Something To Grow On
Good memoirs give insight into what it means to be human and how to do it just a bit better. By sharing the mistakes, mishaps and challenges overcome, Elwes imparts a few subtle teachings that might help the reader grow.
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Ronda Del Boccio
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