Who Was That Woman, Anyway? Snapshots of a Lesbian Life, by Aorewa McLeod, opens with: ‘All these stories are inspired by real life events. Some details happened in real life, some did not. The characters are fictionalised and given fictional names.’ As readers, what are we to make of that?
You could argue that to write a fictionalised autobiography is to cheat: you take the story of your own life, but then you’re free to make bits up, smooth things over, change what doesn’t fit, add your own ending. Instead of writing what was, you can write what could have been. Instead of presenting yourself how you are, you can make yourself better, more intelligent, more narratively interesting.
Alternatively, you could argue that to pointedly describe your book as fictionalised autobiography is more honest than pretending that your recollections of your own life…
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