McCourt has been accused of exaggerating too much, of making up conversations he couldn’t possibly have remembered as a small boy, but McCourt has an important comment about that, too, in his 2001 interview with Spiked magazine:
“A memoir is an impression of your life, and that gives you a certain amount of leeway. If an autobiography is like a photograph, then a memoir is more like a painting. So I’ve always said to my critics, This is my impression of my life, so what are you gonna do about it?’
McCourt states that memoir is the twin sister to fiction. There is a fine line between memoir and fiction, though, and while both aim to tell a good story the fiction line is crossed when you enter the realm of pure fabrication. Memoir writers are similar to artists who are free to take “artistic license” to re-create a real life snapshot. They add or subtract, alter colors and perspective. Memoir writers can do the same, but obviously in lesser degree to capture our own reality without outright lying or distortion of factual history. Isn’t that a nice thought – we are the Monet’s of the writing world!