Boyd Lemon: Daring to dig deep to write a divorce memoir

Boyd Lemon is a very brave man. I have just finished his memoir, Digging Deep: A Writer Uncovers His Marriages, where he studies the failures of his three marriages and his role in their collapses. Not only does he dive to the bottom of his psyche, he writes very personal details of his thoughts, perspectives, expectations – and worse – his experiences of sex and drugs (usually involving a wife). Heavens! But Boyd dares to expose all in his quest for understanding and in his desire to help others, especially those who grew up in the same era he did, on the cusp of the immense social changes of the 60s and 70s. Boyd manages to objectively examine his own beliefs and behaviors instead of playing the blame game or exacting written revenge on his ex-wives. [Very Important: do not write your memoir until any anger you have against others you include in your story has cooled off.]

Sharon Lippincott, author of The Heart and Craft of Lifestory Writing, interviewed Boyd Lemon about the delicate subject of how his ex-wives viewed his memoir exposing them to the world. Since Boyd was a lawyer most of his life, he probably had more clue than the rest of us about how not to get sued for writing unflattering things about others, but he is very generous with and respectful of his ex-spouses, knowing that neither they nor he was perfect and trying to understand their perspectives. Digging Deep is well worth reading, especially for middle-aged and older readers who will undoubtedly recognize some of their own foibles in the pages, and for those who plan to write about their own difficult relationships.

One last observation: Digging Deep uses an unconventional and innovative literary tactic of using present tense as Boyd writes and experiences the frustrations of writing his memoir, then switches to past tense to tell the actual stories of his marriages. The tenses/timeframes are separated by three centered asterisks to help the reader transition. It works brilliantly. And Boyd writes very well, interspersing lovely prose in his eye-opening stories. You shouldn’t get bored. (Warning: sexual details, but never gratuitous).

Digging Deep is available in print through online book sellers, in most e-book formats through Smashwords, or via the Boyd Lemon author website. Boyd also has a Divorce Recovery Resource website.

The Heart and Craft of Lifestory Writing: How to Transform Memories Into Meaningful Stories

Linda Austin
"Cherry Blossoms in Twilight"


About moonbridgebooks

Co-author of Cherry Blossoms in Twilight, a WWII Japan memoir of her mother's childhood; author of Poems That Come to Mind, for caregivers of dementia patients; Co-author/Editor of Battlefield Doc, a medic's memoir of combat duty during the Korean War; life writing enthusiast; loves history and culture (especially Japan), poetry, and cats
This entry was posted in bad memories, book reviews, book talk, writing. Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Boyd Lemon: Daring to dig deep to write a divorce memoir

  1. Hi Linda,Thanks for stopping by and commenting on my blog. Boyd Lemon's book sounds intriguing, especially interested in the format. I'll have to check it out. I signed ont o follow your blog. I will return.

  2. Linda Austin says:

    Thank YOU for stopping by here. I see from your blog that you are a contributing author to The Harsh and the Heart, a new anthology of military memories and stories – very cool, and a very worthwhile endeavor.

  3. Linda, you said so many things about Boyd's book that I didn't have room for. Bravo! I too especially like his structure that alternates between present and past. Another book using that general type of structure is Tracy Seeley's story My Ruby Slippers. The content is entirely different from Boyd's but equally compelling, IMO. I put both of them on my list of MUST READ titles to recommend to others.

  4. Linda Austin says:

    Hi Sharon, thanks! Yes, I've been hearing a lot of good things about the Ruby Slippers memoir, and being from the Midwest I'll have to put it on my to-read list.

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