Friday, February 22, 2013

What Genre Is Your Book? A Look at the New Hybrids in Creative Nonfiction

A January 18 essay in the  New York Times Sunday Book Review, "I Change, You Change," by writer Rebecca Tuhus-Dubrow, discusses a new genre called the memoir/self-help hybrid.  More than just traditional memoir, this kind of book also addresses the reader directly, offering advice, examples, even exercises to spur change.

I enjoyed the essay very much--and I am glad all sorts of hybrids are being discussed in the New York Times.  But, hey, folks:  this genre isn't new.  There have been writers and readers preferring it for decades--because it solves a conundrum.

A personal example:  When I published my second memoir in 1997, I debated its genre.  The book was a combination of my stories of loss and change, and good advice I'd received over the decade I went through cancer, bankruptcy, divorce, marriage, and other such upheavals.