418Hckt2YALReviewed by Nina Longfield

Everyone has a story to tell. Such is the basis of Roberta Temes instructional book, How to Write a Memoir in 30 Days. Temes spells out and breaks down the process for writing one’s personal story. She provides day-by-day, step by step instructions meant to lead the writer through the memoir process. These exercises take the writer from beginning to ending, to enhancing one’s writing through description, action and dialogue, to polishing for publication.

Temes begins How to Write a Memoir in 30 Days with an introduction as to what a memoir is; by day two, the reader learns how a memoir is different from an autobiography. Some of the exercises are challenging in their simplicity, such as the three-sentence memoir. It is no easy task summing up one’s life in three sentences or less, but this draws one into the essence of what it is one wants to focus his/her writing around. The exercises are written to help the writer delve into his/her memories. Temes shows that this process can be difficult or fun reflecting back on certain memories. Temes also discusses therapeutic benefits of memory recall. Each writer chooses what subject, character, emotions, and memories to write about each day. How to Write a Memoir in 30 Days illustrates each lesson using examples from student writers to established standards. Such examples allow the reader to understand the exercise and create his/her own results. Temes also sprinkles grammar tips throughout the book that are useful even for the seasoned writer to review.

There is no mystery or magical promise in How to Write a Memoir in 30 Days. The book, however, can fulfill all it offers with work and persistence. If a writer follows the thirty day, day-by-day set of instructions and exercises, he/she can fill many pages. The downside of the book is the rushed final chapters. The concluding chapters on polishing your work and the publishing process seems to only summarize and glance over two complicated subjects. Despite the final chapters, the book as a whole is a great collection of writing exercises and grammatical tips that can aid the novice to experienced writer in creating his or her own written personal story.

Rating: ★★★★☆ 

Nina Longfield is a writer living in Oregon’s fertile wine country. When she is not reading or writing in her spare time, Nina enjoys hiking in the hills surrounding her cabin.

Review copy was provided free of any obligation by FSB Associates. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.