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A Tale of Two Memoirs

A few weeks ago I actually had some time at home to read! I had picked up two books (from Lincoln City Libraries, of course) to keep me in good reading, “Seeking Peace: Chronicles of the Worst Buddhist in the World” by Mary Pipher, and “DV” by Diana Vreeland.

I don’t think that I could have chosen two more different memoirs by women.  “DV” in breathless language tells all about the globetrotting, namedropping, stylish life of a fashion maven extraordinaire.  With almost not a single moment of self-reflection, she romps through her life story. I find her life on the cutting edge of twentieth century fashion fascinating, and I think that I’ll look for a well-crafted biography that will provide a little more context, and a lot more evaluation of her impact.

On the other hand, “Seeking Peace” is all self-reflection. Mary is a friend, and I’ve heard her speak about this book, so I knew what I was in for. I found her description of her Great Plains childhood and youth, framed by the meltdown she experienced in 2002, absorbing and familiar in the best way. Although she tells an excellent story, she uses each experience to learn something about herself, to think about why what happened in her life at certain points, came to be so important so many years later.  When I consider the kind of public success that Lincoln’s own Pipher has experienced, I’m delighted that she opened this window into her personal story.

I loved the crazy contrast of reading these two such different books back-to-back. It’s one example of why memoir continues to be my favorite genre.

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