The author says this story is based on the lives of her maternal grandparents who spent 55 years as Mennonite (and later Nazarene) missionaries in China. While I enjoyed the novel, it felt much more like the narrative one of her grandparents might have written about their lives than a work of fiction. Anyone else feel that way and does it matter to you?
I have no problem with fiction that borders reality. I want to believe the fiction because that's what makes it enjoyable to me. If I believe it did or could happen, then I find much more pleasure in reading. What I do have a problem with is fiction that is purported to be true. Do not tell me that the actions, thoughts, behaviors and etc. of individuals are real if they are merely fantasy created by an active imagination.
I agree with post #2. A Million Tiny Pieces was that way for me...a supposed memoir which read like a fictional horror story with one tale of tragedy compounding another. However, as this was a memoir, I was able to forgive some of the "memories" as I remembered that we all record memories about incidents differently and according to importance perceived. Some events from my childhood are vivid in my mind, yet my brothers don't recall them at all, and we were all present at the time.
There seem to be many works in which the boundary betwen fiction and non-fiction is not so concrete as perhaps we would like. I think another example of this would be Into the Wild, that is not strictly fiction yet reads just like a gripping novel as we follow its plot to its tragic conclusion. I don't necessarily think it matters, as often real life events appear to be far more outlandish and unbelievable than fiction itself, in my opinion.