I am very pleased to host Day 3 of blogging friend Miriam Hurdle’s book launch tour for her cancer memoir: The Winding Road: A Journey of Survival.
Thank you for hosting my launch tour today, Liz! I’m thrilled to be here to share my new book with your friends.
During this launch tour, I want to talk about memoir writing. Here is my topic for today.
Types of Memoirs
Many writers categorized the types of memoirs from a literacy point of view. I like the following ways to distinguish the types of memoirs from the memoirist’s perspective and their types of experiences. The following types of memoirs are self-explanatory. So, I include one example for each.
The Autobiographical Memoir
The Story of My Life by Helen Keller
Most everyone is familiar with the story of Helen Keller. In this book, Keller talks about her life directly. Even the most cynical reader will be inspired by what Keller was able to accomplish in her lifetime and will finish the book with a renewed sense of what is truly possible.
The Experience Memoir
Sailing Alone Around the World by Joshua Slocum
Joshua Slocum’s account of his solo voyage around the globe—the first ever completed—became an international bestseller when it was published in 1900 and has remained popular with professional sailors and armchair adventures alike in the 120 years since.
The Themed Memoir
The Hilarious World of Depression by John Moe
Moe, the former host of the podcast of the same name, details his career in radio alongside his mental health struggles and the aftermath of his brother’s suicide, which plagues him with guilt since he believes he’s responsible.
The Childhood Memoir
Angela’s Ashes by Frank McCourt
Frank McCourt’s Pulitzer Prize-winning, New York Times bestselling memoir, is not an easy read—but it is a worthwhile one. “Worse than the ordinary miserable childhood is the miserable Irish childhood,” McCourt writes. “Worse yet is the miserable Irish Catholic childhood.” McCourt grew up in poverty, near starvation, and dealt more than his fair share of cruelty from those around him.
The Family Memoir
The Liars’ Club by Mary Karr
Karr writes about the insanity running in the family, alcoholism, feuds, and outright lying as a competitive sport. It is told from the point of view of Mary as a young girl.
The Travel/Lifestyle Memoir
Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert
Eat, Pray, Love: One Woman’s Search for Everything Across Italy, India, and Indonesia is a 2006 memoir by Gilbert. The memoir chronicles the author’s trip around the world after her divorce and what she discovered during her travels.
The Celebrity Memoir
Becoming by Michelle Obama
The former first lady of the United States Michelle Obama published her memoir in 2018. Described by the author as a deeply personal experience, the book talks about her roots and how she found her voice, as well as her time in the White House, her public health campaign, and her role as a mother.
Length of Memoirs
The length of memoirs can be as short as a flash fiction up to 1,500 words, a short story under 7,500 words, a novelette between 7,500 and 17,500 words, a novella between 17,500 and 40,000 words, or a full-length novel over 40,000 words. My memoir falls into the novella range of word count.
It looks like many of us can start writing a memoir.
The book information.
In the summer of 2008, Miriam Hurdle was diagnosed with melanoma-an aggressive and invasive cancer in her internal organs. The survival rate before 2008 was low. Besides risking harsh treatments for a slim chance of survival, Miriam had hoops to jump through. By the time she received treatment at the beginning of 2009, her cancer had progressed from stage II to stage IV. It was a rough and uphill winding road. But alongside her was support and encouragement. Accompanied by the love of her family and community, this is Miriam’s journey of faith and miracle. It is a heartwarming story of resilience, courage, and the will to live.
Writing about a personal cancer experience as a therapeutic activity to cope with the emotions and physical changes that accompany diagnosis, treatment, and prognosis can be very beneficial to the person going through it.
However, making the transition from writer-based prose in the form of a cancer diary or journal to reader-based prose as a published cancer memoir poses a challenge. Miriam Hurdle faces this challenge head-on in her cancer memoir, The Winding Road: A Journey of Survival.
She begins by introducing the book with a Foreword in which she directly addresses the reader and explains her reasons for sharing her story: “I’m grateful to be alive, to give to others, and to receive from them.” Throughout the book, she never loses sight of the fact that she is telling her story to someone else. As a reader, I greatly appreciated this consideration. I also appreciated the family photographs she included, as her family played such a vital role in her journey of survival.
Key scenes–such as receiving an unexpected pathology report after a routine surgery–are dramatized so that the reader can experience the events and their accompanying emotions with Hurdle, rather than being told about them secondhand. She also includes italicized interior monologue, making the reader privy to her thoughts at the time, reinforcing the immediacy of the narration. In addition, she balances the experience of what she went through at the time with her current reflections on it now, so that readers can benefit from both perspectives on her cancer experience.
Hurdle includes just enough researched information about the type of cancer she had and the details of her own instance of it to give the reader a clear understanding of what she went through without feeling overwhelmed or getting the impression of reading a medical case study. (Make no mistake: the details of the treatments and their side effects are portrayed with brutal honesty.)
If I had to give just one reason to recommend that others read The Winding Road–regardless of where they are in their lives or their health–it would be that witnessing the support of a loving family and the incredible kindness shown to Hurdle by everyone in her personal and professional circles can serve as an antidote to the hatred and strife that characterize our current troubled times. Medical science aside, as critically important as it was, Miriam’s cancer journey gave me hope.
Purchase Links: Amazon.com ~ Amazon.co.uk
The Winding Road Trailer
Miriam Hurdle is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI). Her publications include Songs of Heartstrings, and the children’s book, Tina Lost in a Crowd. Her poetry collection received the Solo “Medalist Winner” for the New Apple Summer eBook Award and achieved bestseller status on Amazon.
Miriam writes poetry, short stories, memoir, and children’s books. She earned a Doctor of Education from the University of La Verne in California. After two years of rehabilitation counseling, fifteen years of public-school teaching, and ten years in school district administration, she retired and enjoys life with her husband in southern California, and the visits to her daughter, son-in-law, and granddaughters in Oregon. When not writing, she engages in blogging, gardening, photography, and traveling.
Contact Miriam at
Amazon Author’s Page: https://www.amazon.com/Miriam-Hurdle/e/B07K2MCSVW