Saturday, August 17, 2002

Jennifer Lauck

What is memoir? The dictionary defines it initially as "records of facts or events in connection with a particular subject, historical period, etc., as known to the writer or gathered from special sources."

That sounds rather like what history is supposed to be. Trouble is, I can't recall a memoir that fits the description. Memory is subject to bias. There are rarely any 8 X 10 glossies with circles and arrows. On a personal level, I can't think of any incidents mutually agreed upon as historically accurate ever occurring between myself and either of my two ex-wives. I'm sure we were all hoping for the best. I still am, actually.

The second definition is a closer fit, "records ones life experiences." But memoir is not a laundry list of events in one's life. Nor is it a diary. Memoir is organized writing that is meant to make a point. Just like any other good story.

In the case of JENNIFER LAUCK and her two-volume memoir, Blackbird and Still Waters, the point seems to be that spunk may not conquer all, but is an excellent counterpoint to misfortune and adversity. Hers is a Cinderella story, except Fairy Godmother got lost on the way over and Prince Charming didn't show up until several years later. No carriage, no gown, no royal ball, and no glass slipper. Jennifer had to do it all herself. An American Cinderella with attitude.

Which has served her well. Once a grade-school dropout, Jennifer Lauck went on to carve out a prestigious career in broadcast journalism before becoming a wife and mother and the successful author of her two books. She is currently working on a novel.