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Magic Underwear…Part I?

Magic Underwear?

Magic Underwear…save me from this book!  Okay, maybe Elna Baker’s, The New York Regional Mormon Singles Halloween Dance, A Memoir, wasn’t that bad.  The title was great, but then things quickly fizzled from there — perhaps, much like this article is about to do.

I’m still trying to figure out Baker’s book and its intended audience — we’ll see if there’s more to say after my book club of twelve suburbanite Catholic women have properly dissected it.  However, there’s one thing that deserves mentioning now — the author’s age.  

Got ID to write this book?

Elna Baker was only in her early/mid-20’s when she started writing this book. Here’s the question: Could someone that young possess the experience and know-how to write a meaningful memoir — a piece of work typically laden with responsibility? A reader expects a memoir not only to relate certain life events with accuracy, but also for such events to be reflected on with an amount of maturity and authority.  I have to believe that a memoir written at the age of thirty-five (or forty-five and beyond) would be completely different from one written at twenty-five (even if portraying the exact same events).

There is no doubt that talented writers come in all ages — young reporters, editors, essayists.  And, in the category of young novelists…look at The Outsiders, written by S.E. Hinton when she was sixteen, or the success of the Eragon series.  However, fiction is a genre with different expectations — where you can portray a world made of tin foil if you wanted, and, if written convincingly, could be deemed a masterpiece!

The memoir is a little different — that unspoken agreement of trust between author and reader can be a little harder to come by. Still, Augusten Burroughs was only in his early 30’s when he published Running with Scissors to much acclaim, and there have been many others. Is it a combination of the writer, the story, and the audience that equates success? And, do you really need to have a lived a little more to reflect a whole lot? Maybe not.

(By the way, “Magic Underwear” is a reference to the sacred Mormon garments that are briefly mentioned in Baker’s book — it’s also a shout-out to my cousins’ favorite holiday attire, but that’s another story.)

7 thoughts on “Magic Underwear…Part I?”

  1. You’ll have to update us on how the book fares.
    I love a decent memoir – will this count as one?
    I’m re-reading ‘Goodbye to All That’ by Robert Graves. I first read it 10 years ago, absolutely wonderfully written, and incredibly moving.


  2. Speaking of memoirs, I just downloaded the book “Here’s the Story: Surviving Marcia Brady and Finding My True Voice” by, who else, Marcia Brady (aka Maureen McCormick). I have high hopes for this one, based both on reviews I’ve read as well as my own interest in the Brady Brunch family after watching them in days of yore. (“Mom always said, ‘Don’t play ball in the house!””) And then, speaking of downloading, though I love to have a real book in hand (the feel of the different paper stocks, the smell of new and old), and while it took me a while to get on-board with the idea, I am really liking having my nook available. Wondering what you and others think of this new-age option?


  3. Don’t get me wrong, I still read “real” books, too. I have a fairly involved set of criteria that helps me determine whether a book will be a download or in-hand. Worst thing about having the nook is that, because of the quick availability of so many books, I’ve been reading even more than usual lately, which means a lot of late nights.


  4. Amanda, I was already enjoying myself immensely with your posts (I too claim several of those reader-confessions) and then came the picture of the WonderWoman underoos and all I can say is, wow. Takes me back. Yes, I had a pair and yes, they were my everything.
    And I am always amazed to find the time to write with two kiddos and here you do it with four? I am in awe!


    1. Thank you, Erika! And, I just told someone else — one kid or eight, all moms are in their own little worlds of crazy. I hope you held onto those underoos…they don’t make them like they used to…Best of luck with your writing!



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