Lindsey had trouble posting so I'm just posting a new comment to include her reflection:
In looking at the memoir from Lopate’s perspective, I’m kind of conflicted about whether or not I, or he, would think Karrr was successful in her writing. In The State of Nonfiction Today, Lopate discusses effective nonfiction as allowing the reader to work through an intricate problem, or even a frivolous one made to seem complex by the writer. I do believe Karr has done this. I think that we have to work through a lot of her problems to determine which have the greatest impact on her life. In class we discussed a number of times where we were left wondering why a certain memory of hers was included, and while that can be frustrating, I don’t necessarily think it’s a bad thing.
However, Lopate goes on to say later in that same essay that writers shouldn’t be doing the work for readers, that they should be drawing conclusions on their own. He questions that method, asking why that seems to be the only one taught to students and that it should not be the exclusive one. In this instance, I don’t think Lopate would necessarily be a fan of Karr’s work. I think that too much is left for the reader to decipher. While I wouldn’t expect each memory or story to be followed up with a reflection, as some are pretty self-explanatory in significance, I often felt a disconnect between Karr and her work. I felt almost as if she was telling someone else’s story because there was so little reflection.
When reading Kephart, a quote from the very first two pages jumped out at me. She quotes Ander Monson as saying, “I guess I want awareness, a sense that the writer has reckoned with the self, the material, as well as what it means to reveal it, and how secrets are revealed, and how stories are told, that’s it’s not just simply being told.” This, for me, is where Karr was unsuccessful.