Uninteresting LiesSlater is controversial for her mixture of truth and fiction this book is a memoir about her epilepsy, but apparently she did not have epilepsy in another book, she has written novelized histories of actual psychological experiments She also presents herself as a liar, saying at first it is a typical symptom of epilepsy, but then, when it emerges that she may not have been an epileptic, the lying becomes a narrative strategy for getting at underlying truths.Slater has been r Uninteresting LiesSlater is controversial for her mixture of truth and fiction this book is a memoir about her epilepsy, but apparently she did not have epilepsy in another book, she has written novelized histories of actual psychological experiments She also presents herself as a liar, saying at first it is a typical symptom of epilepsy, but then, when it emerges that she may not have been an epileptic, the lying becomes a narrative strategy for getting at underlying truths.Slater has been reviewed and discussed widely, but mainly outside literary circles I can think of several reasons why she hasn t been reviewed as a serious fiction writer 1 Her strategy of lying is only controversial if the books are read as nonfiction or as historical scholarship The blending of fiction and nonfiction to get to the heart of things p 219 cp p 192 is not controversial in the domain of writing What novel isn t about narrative truth What memoir isn t entwined with fiction What history isn t narrated What story isn t a lie Slater s book is peppered with undergraduate style allusions to postmodernism, Heidegger, and others, as justifications for what she s doing but the very presence of those gestures shows how far she is from literary practice There are no references to Barth, Barthelme, Auster, Angela Carter, Muriel Spark, and others who have asked the same questions Not to mention Ali Smith wonder if Slater has seen her speech at 2 Her writing lacks nuance It s black and white, and the emotions and scenes are sensationalist In one episode, her mother berates a hotel pianist for having heavy hands, and he asks her to sit down and play in his place Everyone watches as the narrator s mother sits at the piano with a great flourish, and then realizes she actually can t play anything except rudimentary melodies Her mother then retreats in silence The next line in the book informs us that Slater had her first epileptic fit that night There are few scenes in the book that end ambiguously Slater doesn t evoke or suggest she dramatizes The emotional temperature is on high from the first page to the last.3 She isn t especially reflective, even about ideas that are central to the book There are a couple of pages in which deeper concerns are voiced, but they pass by quickly In one scene her doctor is interested to learn that she has become interested in religious issues She gets annoyed at being compared to Saint Teresa and others, because that would mean that her illness was creating her interest Is religion itself a symptom she asks Look, the doctor answers, it s no an either or thing Who knows, maybe the disease is God s way of reaching certain people p 201 His thoughts, and her reactions, go to the heart of difficult issues about faith and mental states, and they should be central for Slater, but she has nothing else to say about them It s almost as if Slater can t keep her mind on the problem Perhaps it would be better if she wrote about just one day, preferably an uneventful day, and her attempts to understand it It s clear she has been struggling to understand her life, and it is a sign of her distress that what counts as understanding a problem is usually coming to a workable solution Often, I think, that s what she has needed But it s not what readers need, unless of course they are reading her books as self help manuals in which case they will be annoyed, as they often have been, by her so called lying A deeper,interesting lie, is the one that presents this book as reflective fiction Slater is an excellent writer I liked the play between fact and fiction and her central theme that one can get to the essence of truth through fiction especially when a ficticious situation is used as an extended metaphor as opposed to fact I enjoyed the first quarter of the book After that it devolved into narcissism and she belabors the Am I lying Am I not Does it matter game that she plays with her reader She claims this book is about her relationship with her mom primarily and m Slater is an excellent writer I liked the play between fact and fiction and her central theme that one can get to the essence of truth through fiction especially when a ficticious situation is used as an extended metaphor as opposed to fact I enjoyed the first quarter of the book After that it devolved into narcissism and she belabors the Am I lying Am I not Does it matter game that she plays with her reader She claims this book is about her relationship with her mom primarily and mental illness secondarily I think that is it primarily about mental illness trying to figure out what is wrong with herself epilepsy, depression, etc and secondarily about her complicated, troublesome self loathing love affair with herself Come with me, reader I am toying with you, yes, but for a real reason I am asking you to enter the confusion with me, to give up the ground with me, because sometimes that frightening floaty place is really the truest of all Kierkegaard says, The greatest lie of all is the feeling of firmness beneath our feet We are at our most 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 surgicall Come with me, reader I am toying with you, yes, but for a real reason I am asking you to enter the confusion with me, to give up the ground with me, because sometimes that frightening floaty place is really the truest of all Kierkegaard says, The greatest lie of all is the feeling of firmness beneath our feet We are at our most 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 Together we will journey We are disoriented, and all we ever really want is a hand to hold I am so happy you are holding me in your hands I am sitting far aways from you, but when you turn the pages, I feel a flutter in me, and wings rise up 163 HOLY COW LAUREN SLATER What did I just read I admit that this has been a book that I have been waiting to read since my professor discussed it in my autobiography memoir class Thanks Dr Funda for taking me to school even during the summer time I don t know what is fact or fiction any, but that was probably the point This is Slater s memoir on living with epilepsy, Munchausen s, kleptomania, perhaps even schizophreniaor perhaps she doesn t have any of those She is upfront that she is lying but also that she is weaving the truth of HER reality I think that the only TRUTH I could pull from this is Slater is an amazing writer She s a poet and pulls you in and out of her narrative multiple times You take her hand and follow her down the rabbit hole, and then once you find yourself comfortable she pulls you back out and tells you, Just kidding That didn t really happen And I loved it The only thing I struggled with in this book was her story of her affair with a married man It was uncomfortable at times but now that I m typing this outit is a real possibility that it didn t actually happen O gersh I ll be thinking about this one for awhilebook hangover here I come I read a book by William James, and like any good book, it did not teach me something new, but drew out the wisdom that was already there, inside me William talks about there being two kinds of will Will A and Will B, I call it Will A is what we all learn, the hold your head high, stuff it down, swallow your sobs, work hard kind of will Will B, while it seems a slacker thing, is actually harder to have It s a willingness instead of a willfulness, an ability to take life on life s terms as opposed to putting up a big fight It s about being bendable, not brittle, a person who is brave enough to try to ride the waves instead of trying to stop them Will B is what you need in order to learn to fall It s the kind of will my mother never taught me, and yours probably never taught you either It s a secret greater than sex it s a spiritual thing Will B is not passive It means an active acceptance, a say yes, and you have to have a voice and courage if you want to learn it If you know Will B, you know your life 53 Erika sLink This was a tricky book to read, because the author narrator tells you right off the bat that maaaaaaybe she made some things up and maaaaaybe she didn t Which is, I guess, the truth about most memoirs, but Slater likes to remind you now and then that what you just read might have only happened in her mind Very tricksy, but not as off putting as it might sound This self consciousness comes off less as po mo defense tactics than honest representation, because central to the memoir is her seizur This was a tricky book to read, because the author narrator tells you right off the bat that maaaaaaybe she made some things up and maaaaaybe she didn t Which is, I guess, the truth about most memoirs, but Slater likes to remind you now and then that what you just read might have only happened in her mind Very tricksy, but not as off putting as it might sound This self consciousness comes off less as po mo defense tactics than honest representation, because central to the memoir is her seizure disorder, which, though a physiological condition, can deep affect perception and psychology If you just let her tell the story the way she wants, you still perhaps better access her feelings, her insecurities, her personal truths So in a way it s a memoir about memoir writing I keep defending it because it is geniunely interesting, but sometimes it makes me batty trying to decide if it was freshman b.s or genius Homework response, November 7th, 2011 Lauren Slater is trying to challenge the reader s concepts of reality and truth in her book Lying A Metaphorical Memoir The idea of the story potentially being false is first presented in the introduction, which is written by a fictional psychologist I think it is interesting that she included this, because if she hadn t, the reveal of her potential lie about epilepsy would have comegradual The first place where she admits to adding something to t Homework response, November 7th, 2011 Lauren Slater is trying to challenge the reader s concepts of reality and truth in her book Lying A Metaphorical Memoir The idea of the story potentially being false is first presented in the introduction, which is written by a fictional psychologist I think it is interesting that she included this, because if she hadn t, the reveal of her potential lie about epilepsy would have comegradual The first place where she admits to adding something to the story was in chapter three when she embellishes the story by falling into the grave, and then quickly confesses that that did not literally happen I liked how she goes on from there to gradually make us questionsections of the narrative, such as the paper that may or may not have been written by her neurologist, and culminating with her even implying that she might have been lying about epilepsy this whole time However I felt like the introduction might have undercut this accumulation by being too open about the possibility of the epilepsy being false Perhaps she felt it was necessary to prevent people from trusting the narrator too much in the beginning, since she does say that when she handed the draft to strangers they took it too literally.In true postmodern from, she includes different types of narrative in this book, which I enjoyed These include the introduction by the fictional psychologist, Hayward Krieger, the paper which may or may not have been written by her neurologist Dr Neu and the letter she addressed to her publisher on how to market this book Each of these sections serve to question the nature to truth in the narrative I already talked about the introduction and touched on the Dr Neu letter The letter she addressed to her publisher lays out some of her intentions in writing this book, including the purposeful ambiguity She includes three ways that the book can be read, without hinting at which one is literally true Also, she points out that she is not a fact and that metaphor can reveal character that fact cannot At the end of the letter, she is almost pleading with the publisher to publish it as nonfiction, which is similar to how she pleads with the reader in the last chapter.This plead on her readers comes tied in the with AA members who think Lauren is in denial of her alcoholism I was intrigued by Sandy s analysis that they portrayed that way to show that were unable to see any truth other than their own Elaine says Denial always kicks in when we get too close to the truth, implying that they view the truth as absolute and objective She swiftly turns from the AA retreat to addressing the reader, both denying that she had epilepsy and begging us to believe that she does have epilepsy unreliable narrators are the best I couldn t decide for a while whether I loved or hated Lauren Slater s book Lying A Metaphorical Memoir Finally, maybe a quarter of the way into it, I decided I loved it and I never changed my mind again But it s the kind of book I would think carefully about before I recommended it to anyone, as it strikes me as potentially hateable It seems that Slater has a talent for stirring up controversy whether this is what she intends or not, I m not sure My first introduction to her was the 2006 I couldn t decide for a while whether I loved or hated Lauren Slater s book Lying A Metaphorical Memoir Finally, maybe a quarter of the way into it, I decided I loved it and I never changed my mind again But it s the kind of book I would think carefully about before I recommended it to anyone, as it strikes me as potentially hateable It seems that Slater has a talent for stirring up controversy whether this is what she intends or not, I m not sure My first introduction to her was the 2006 edition of The Best American Essays where she was the year s guest editor Her introduction to the anthology told the story of how her book Opening Skinner s Box provoked all kinds of anger from all kinds of people, but especially professional psychologists, of which she is one herself Apparently, people didn t like her portrayal of famous psychological experiments, and they disliked it enough to start an email listserve called Slater Hater, which she followed for a while The openness with which she discussed this episode, which surely was extremely painful, impressed me, and I ve been intrigued by her ever since.So, as you can guess from the title, Lying A Metaphorical Memoir is no traditional memoir instead, it s a book where she claims to have epilepsy, but also refuses to tell you whether that s actually true or not It might just be a metaphor for something else she is trying to communicate about her life, something about mental illness She describes the experience of epilepsy in great detail, though, telling about her first seizures and the process of figuring out the disease, describing the various forms of treatment she received, and describing the way she would pretend to have seizures or purposely induce seizures for dramatic effect The most dramatic part of the book comes when she describes surgery to have her corpus callosum severed the part of the brain that connects the right and left hemispheres Her doctor believed that this wouldn t cure her fully but would cut down dramatically on the number and severity of the seizures, which is did or which she says it did It also left her with some strange side effects, such as not being able to read with her left eye closed, since the right side of the brain processes language.Read the rest of the review at This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers To view it, click here SPOILER ALERT This is my favorite partSecretly each and every one of us longs to fall, and knows in a deep wise place in our brains that surrender is the means by which we gain, not lose, our lives We know this, and that is why we have bad backs and pulled necks and throbbing pain between our shoulder blades We want to go down, and it hurts to fight the force of gravityWilliam James talks about two kinds of will Will A and Will B, I call it Will A is what we all learn, the hold your h SPOILER ALERT This is my favorite partSecretly each and every one of us longs to fall, and knows in a deep wise place in our brains that surrender is the means by which we gain, not lose, our lives We know this, and that is why we have bad backs and pulled necks and throbbing pain between our shoulder blades We want to go down, and it hurts to fight the force of gravityWilliam James talks about two kinds of will Will A and Will B, I call it Will A is what we all learn, the hold your head high, stuff it down, swallow your sobs, work hard kind of will Will B, while it seems a slacker thing, is actually harder to have It s a willingness instead of a willfulness, an ability to take life on life s terms as opposed to putting up a big fight It s about being bendable, not brittle, a person who is brave enough to try to ride the waves instead of trying to stop them Will B is what you need in order to learn to fall It s the kind of will my mother never taught me, and yours probably never taught you either It s a secret greater than sex it s a spiritual thing Will B is not passive It means an active acceptance, a say yes, and you have to have a voice and courage if you want to learn it If you know will be you know your life You know what my mother never learned That it is only by entering emptiness and ugliness, not by covering it up with feathers and sprays, that you find a balance so true, no one can take it away In this powerful and provocative new memoir, award winning author Lauren Slater forces readers to redraw the boundary between what we know as fact and what we believe through the creation of our own personal fictions Mixing memoir with mendacity, Slater examines memories of her youth, when after being diagnosed with a strange illness she developed seizures and neurological disturbances and the compulsion to lie Openly questioning the reliability of memoir itself, Slater presents the mesmerizing story of a young woman who discovers not only what plagues her but also what cures her the birth of her sensuality, her creativity as an artist, and storytelling as an act of healing It s difficult to describe this brilliant memoir without reducing it to a simple, inadequate description it is about illness, it is about the slipperiness of what is real in memory and even in present experience It is also, like many memoirs, a coming of age story However, it is also one of the most powerful, artful memoirs I have read Slater s gorgeously crafted lines and scenes set up a world in which factuality is less important than narrative truth, and then she takes this idea a step be It s difficult to describe this brilliant memoir without reducing it to a simple, inadequate description it is about illness, it is about the slipperiness of what is real in memory and even in present experience It is also, like many memoirs, a coming of age story However, it is also one of the most powerful, artful memoirs I have read Slater s gorgeously crafted lines and scenes set up a world in which factuality is less important than narrative truth, and then she takes this idea a step beyond the convenient manipulations so often used by memoirists to tell stories The question of truth vs untruth is at the core of this memoir, and is necessary to the reader s understanding of Lauren s childhood and adolescence