Mama’s Boy, Preacher’s Son: A Memoir
by Kevin Jennings
Beacon Press. 288 pages, $24.95
PERSONAL MEMOIRS, despite recent scandals concerning their veracity, have been increasing in popularity over the past decade or more. The memoir as we know it goes back to the 18th century, when they consisted mainly of tales of heroism and adventure that the writer had experienced. During the 19th century, there was a shift to what could be called sermonic memoirs, those life stories that were designed to make a certain moral point. As we enter the 21st century, it seems the memoir has completed its long transition to pure voyeurism. Now the object seems to be to throw out the intimate details of one’s life for their own sake, for the vicarious pleasure of the reader.
David R. Gillespie is a writer based in Greenville, SC.