my life in a novel

by caitlin meredith

This weekend I read my mom’s first novel for the second time. The first time I read it, almost three years ago, it was a surreal experience. Though fiction, many of the characters and scenarios in the book are based on what has really happened in my life, in our family. It is a wonderful book – not because it copies reality, but because it uses the same material to draw out a different, equally rich, realistic and compelling narrative. Seeing how my mom channeled all of the real life ingredients into an entirely new concoction gave me a keyhole view into a creative mind; I’ve never been so close to an artist.

Reading the book was the opportunity to view my life, my family’s life, through the glass. From afar everyone else’s life can seem so much richer, more intense, especially in books or movies. The day to day of my own life, or the slog of family dynamics, just doesn’t seem interesting most of the time. In a novel, especially this one, scenes come alive, people are wittier, life is layered and plays out in a larger-than-life way. Much of that has to do with what a great writer my mom is, but also the importance that a life is afforded just by the very act of recording it. If there’s something to write about, it must be extraordinary. Read the rest of this entry »