Family Trouble

Edited by Joy Castro

Whenever a memoirist gives a reading, someone in the audience is sure to ask: How did your family react? Revisiting our pasts and exploring our experiences, we often reveal more of our nearest and dearest than they might prefer. This volume navigates the emotional and literary minefields that any writer of family stories or secrets must travel when depicting private lives for public consumption.

Essays by twenty-five memoirists, including Faith Adiele, Alison Bechdel, Jill Christman, Judith Ortiz Cofer, Rigoberto González, Robin Hemley, Dinty W. Moore, Bich Minh Nguyen, and Mimi Schwartz, explore the fraught territory of family history told from one perspective, which, from another angle in the family drama, might appear quite different indeed. In her introduction to this book, Joy Castro, herself a memoirist, explores the ethical dilemmas of writing about family and offers practical strategies for this tricky but necessary subject.

A sustained and eminently readable lesson in the craft of memoir, Family Troubleserves as a practical guide for writers to find their own version of the truth while still respecting family boundaries.

 

Praise for Family Trouble

“The writers in Joy Castro’s Family Trouble tell moving stories that probe the ethics of our choices and their consequences when we write about our family members. I know I’ll be recommending this book to my students for years to come.”—Lee Martin, author of Such a Life and From Our House

“What a valuable anthology! And how many times over the years I have taught creative nonfiction would I have reached for this anthology, with its testimonies to the fine lines these writers have drawn, and crossed, and recrossed, and regretted, and celebrated.”—Mary Clearman Blew, author of This Is Not the Ivy League

“If you’ve ever written or considered writing about family, or if you are the family that has been written about, this book is your bible.”—Kim Barnes, author of In the Wilderness: Coming of Age in Unknown Country

“[Family Trouble is] a well-balanced panoply of family-centric musings from authors conflicted between responsibility and retribution.”—Kirkus

“For any writer of memoirs . . . a must-read.”—Publishers Weekly

“Writers of memoir will find this book helpful in thinking through their own decisions; readers of memoir will be interested in understanding the anguish that goes on behind the scenes.”—Laurie Hertzel, Star Tribune