Truth and Lying

With the growing popularity of writers like David Sedaris and Augusten Borroughs, the relatively new genre of creative nonfiction (CNF), or the personal essay, is on the rise. While Sedaris, Burroughs and other popular CNF writers tell great stories, they lack vulnerability and verisimilitude of detail. David Sedaris may tell true stories about his dysfunctional family, he rarely writes about anything below the superficial level. And James Frey, author of A Million Little Pieces, wrote a beautiful, cathartic account of his recovery from addiction, which was completely untrue, much to the chagrin of Oprah’s book-club. It’s widely accepted that a personal essay should tell a story that gives insight into the author’s personality in the most honest way he or she can.
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