Reviews

In Her Own Words: Women's Memoirs from Australia, New Zealand, Canada & the United States

Patty Osborne

In Her Own Words: Women's Memoirs from Australia, New Zealand, Canada & the United States (Vintage), edited by Jill Ker Conway, is a book that invites browsing. All twelve of the memoirs here are excerpts of longer works, so many of the paragraphs end with ellipses to indicate that we are going to move right along. I took this as permission to skim any bits that didn't hold my attention, and to not feel guilty about it. I most enjoyed the stories from Australia and New Zealand, probably because the writing is so good—the six women from there are all writers—but also because I enjoy reading about places I'm not that familiar with. Women whose lives include blokes, library subscriptions and knock-off whistles always seem so much more interesting than me. In Her Own Words did not hold my undivided attention the way complete memoirs do, but it introduced me to some new voices and sent me to the library to look for the original writings.

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