What silences does Lauren Slater break in this memoir?

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Noelle Thompson eNotes educator| Certified Educator

What an interesting question!  Lauren certainly DOES break some silences in this memoir.  I find it ironic that it's entitled Lying, don't you? 

Lauren Slater creates an interesting scenario juxtaposing her medical condition as several different conditions. In the beginning, Slater speaks of her condition as epilepsy and possibly Maunchasen's Syndrome, or mental illness. The conundrum is whether Slater's book is a non-fiction biography or a fictional story with her as the protagonist.

Slater describes many events occurring, then simultaneously says the events never happened or were her imagination, seizures, or Munchausen.

I record my life, sifting and trying to separate what is real from what I’ve dreamed. I have decided not to tell you what is fact versus what is unfact primarily because (a) I am giving you a portrait of the essence of me, and (b) because, living where I do, living in the chasm that cuts through thought, it is lonely… come with me, reader.

The reader is left with a circuitous and tenuous hold on their reality while trying to understand hers. The question begs to be asked: is this a true story that happened to Lauren Slater or a fictional account of potential groups of lies Slater intersperses with delusion?

Kierkegaard says, ‘The greatest lie of all is the feeling of firmness beneath our feet. We are most honest when we are lost.’ Enter that lostness with me. Live in the place I am, where the view is murky, where the connecting bridges and orienting maps have been surgically stripped away.

The silence Lauren Slater breaks in this memoir is the very possibility that the book could be either fiction or non-fiction. It is a possible true account of mental illness and delusions, epilepsy, Manchausen's, or an entirely fictional account.

Read the study guide:
Lying: A Metaphorical Memoir

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