Does a memoir have to adhere strictly to every fact (assuming that is even possible) to be “valuable or meaningful,” as Allison Bechdel puts it in reference to her autobiographical work “Fun Home”? Or can it venture into “autobifictionalography”, as Lynda Barry put it in the introduction to “One Hundred Demons”? Kim O’Connor has a thoughtful piece on some of the main varieties of comic memoir and their connection to the truth.
“We notice that when people tell the story of their lives it often sounds like an obituary,” Barry wrote. “A lot of general information but almost no images.” The real story of who we are is not in what we experience, but how we experience it.
A few of the titles discussed:
One hundred demons / by Lynda Barry – PN6727.B36 O54 2002
What it is / by Lynda Barry – PN6727.B36 W43 2008
Diary of a teenage girl : an account in words and pictures / Phoebe Gloeckner – PN6727.G596 D5 2002
Justin Green’s Binky Brown sampler – PN6727.B51 G74 1995
Love that bunch / by Aline Kominsky Crumb – PN6727.C68 L68 1990
You’ll never know / by Carol Tyler – PN6727.T954 Y68 2009 v.1-2