Why We Write About Ourselves Read More Reviews

“Memoirists tell the truth and expose their beating black hearts in Why We Write About Ourselves.” —Vanity Fair

“Bestselling authors spill secrets about the act of spilling secrets.”
Wall Street Journal

"You shouldn’t have affairs. But definitely don’t have one with a memoirist. That’s one of the few real conclusions I can draw from “Why We Write About Ourselves,” a collection of reflections and justifications from 20 practitioners of the memoir art. You know they’re going to tell everyone about it.  It’s what they do. It’s all they do...As readers, of course, we almost always want a memoirist to offer more, even if we then sit in judgment of their disclosures. Ishmael Beah, author of “A Long Way Gone,” a memoir of his time as a child soldier in Sierra Leone, says that he holds some things back, “the deepest intimacies of my emotions and experiences.” But aren’t those deepest intimacies precisely what we’re after when we pick up a memoir?"
Washington Post 

“This collection reporting why writers write about themselves hops from the fascinating to theclarifying to the downright inspirational. This is not a book to be read lightly nor to be read all at once—it is chock-full of brilliance and insight. Most contributions are so vital and exhilarating that readers will likely set the book aside to go walk, talk, think, and, perhaps, write themselves.A truly stellar collection and a must-read for writers.”
Booklist (starred review)
“The first compilation of memoirists at the top of their game seriously and thoughtfully considering the genre. Reading these reflections, one gets a sense of the depth, strength and talent required to be what Pat Conroy, in his chapter, calls our culture's "designated rememberers.”- The Los Angeles Times

Why We Write Read More Reviews

"...anybody curious can find Baldacci’s thoughts on the matter in “Why We Write,” a new collection of interviews edited by Meredith Maran, in which 20 well-known authors try to analyze what, exactly, keeps them at it."
New York Times Book Review, 1/18/13

"A rich, informative essay collection based on interviews with 20 prominent authors seeking to answer the question: "Why do writers write?"

“If writing were illegal I’d be in prison. I can’t not write. It’s a compulsion.”
—David Baldacci

“When I’m writing... I’m living in two different dimensions: this life I’m living now…and this completely other world I’m inhabiting that no one else knows about.”
—Jennifer Egan

“Every story is a seed inside of me that starts to grow and grow, like a tumor, and I have to deal with it sooner or later.”
—Isabel Allende

“In the beginning, it was that sense of losing time. Now…I have the sense that I can biff the world a bit. I can exert a force.”
—Michael Lewis

"Writers will be reassured and readers will learn much about the joys and the struggles of the writing life."
—Jason Epstein

"Why do we writers do what we do? Because we must. Because the alternative is untenable. An inspiring, illuminating book."
—Dani Shapiro

"The perfect warm-up to a good day of work, an antidote to writer's block—a must-have secret weapon of inspiration for any writer's reference shelf."
—A.M. Homes

"What led Walter Mosley, Jennifer Egan, Susan Orlean, Terry McMillan, Sebastian Junger and others to write? The reasons of a dozen writers — from the just-published collection ‘’Why We Write’’ — are honest, humorous and inspiring."
Washington Post, 3/15/13

"You need not be a fan of all of the writers interviewed to enjoy this absorbing look into the literary life. “Why We Write” is also filled with practical tips on writing, surviving, and thriving for anyone who works with words."
Boston Globe, 2/8/13

My Lie: A True Story of False Memory Read More Reviews

My Lie is a shockingly honest, stunningly nuanced book. Every parent, and everyone who has a parent, should read this searing father-daughter story.” 
—AYELET WALDMAN, author of Bad Mother 

“Meredith Maran is a wonderful journalist and storyteller, profoundly honest, direct, witty, savvy and compassionate.”
—ANNE LAMOTT, author of Bird By Bird

 “My Lie is the brave and riveting "inside story" of the most devastating mental health controversy of the century. I couldn't put it down.”
—ELIZABETH F. LOFTUS, PHD, co-author of The Myth of Repressed Memory

"Meredith Maran has written a page-turner of a memoir, at once brave and heartbreaking.  In navigating her family history, Maran becomes a detective, and My Lie reads like a mystery all the more suspenseful because the writer has taken great care to tell the truth."
—DANI SHAPIRO, author of Devotion: A Memoir

“Only a writer as fierce and incisive as Meredith Maran could have written a book as intimate, dark, bracing and revelatory as My Lie.”
—MICHAEL CHABON, author of The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay

San Francisco Chronicle Book Review: “Recommended Book” September 26, 2010
With candor and humor, Maran, an Oakland journalist, re-examines the "recovered memory" phenomenon of the 1980s and '90s - and her own shocking involvement in it.

NPR: The Takeaway, September 30, 2010
This book is a bitter, persuasive, compelling critique of media and psychology... a blockbuster, mind-blowing story.

The Washington Post, Sunday, September 26, 2010
One of the more bizarre stories of the 1980s and '90s was the...one Meredith Maran writes about in "My Lie": accusations of incest against family members, in this case her father...Fortunately, Maran explains, "When I came to my senses, my father was still alive and relatively well. I still had time to make amends."

Boston Globe, 9/21/10
In this terrifying, haunting, and controversial memoir, award-winning journalist Meredith Maran delves into the fascinating subject of the recovered memory movement... Her refusal to whitewash her own behavior, her fierce ability to expose all sides of the issue, and her compassion for the abused as well as those still falsely imprisoned as abusers opens up a dialogue about memory, belief, and past- and present-day culture that is as riveting as it is important.


Meredith Maran hits a vein in Dirty, a terrifying look at the teenage drug epidemic.
-Vanity Fair

Maran's storytelling is colorful and compelling, a sympathetic evocation of ecstasy, heartbreak, horror, and hope. Provocatively revealing, informative, and not without humor, Dirty is itself an addictive read.
-Psychology Today

Maran's exploration of youthful self-destruction, Dirty, is wrenching as both advocacy journalism and parental confessional.
-San Francisco Chronicle Book Review - BEST BOOKS OF 2003

By choosing kids from such different worlds, Maran manages to present several facets of the nation's losing war on drugs-What's most refreshing about Dirty is Maran's lack of objectivity... [what] makes the book so compelling: her late-night conversations with these self-destructive but incredibly likable teenagers.

Insightful, compassionate-important and timely.
-Publisher's Weekly

Class Dismissed

Class Dismissed is a moving and, at times, heartbreaking, account of three kids from very different backgrounds...Maran tells their stories with great sensitivity. You can't help rooting for them and wishing for a sequel with a happy ending.

Revealing and realistic...It's obvious the teens let Maran enter their lives, not merely observe them...Students, teachers, parents, community leaders and citizens need to hear these voices. Success can't be celebrated, and problems can't be solved unless they are revealed. And in Class Dismissed, they are, in abundance.
-USA Today

Maran the immersed reporter came away from Berkeley High with enough experiential knowledge to earn a place in the national debate on education. Unlike politicians and corporate moneymen who have all the answers because they once spent 30 minutes reading to inner-city first-graders, Maran is not another dabbler. Her headwork is backed by legwork.
-Washington Post

Class Dismissed by journalist Meredith Maran cracks open the door and demands a political accounting for what she finds.
-Boston Globe

Skillfully integrating multiple and quite disparate voices, Maran gives clear and chilling examples of how white and black children are treated differently, bringing to light the "dirty little secret" of racial inequality.
-Publisher's Weekly starred review

Ben & Jerry's Double Dip

A nonfattening blend of social consciousness and practical business advice...a how-to book with a socially responsible twist. And it's fun to read, too.
-San Francisco Chronicle Book Review

A very different kind of business book, Double Dip shows how a company can win the respect of its community, loyalty of its customers, and healthy profits, too, by addressing social concerns as well as the bottom line.
-Business Times

Notes From An Incomplete Revolution

...This book's important point: that at this stage in the history of feminism, being honest about women's lives is far more a sign of progress than retreat; that to complete the revolution, women need realistic analysis more than symbolic gestures.
-The New York Times Book Review

Equal parts Fran Liebowitz and Helen Gurley Brown...Maran's witty, insightful, first-person narrative acknowledges the limitations and failings of feminism while still rejoicing in the power of the women's movement.
-The Advocate

A brave and thoughtful woman...With honesty and rigor, she takes on one emotional minefield after another the relations between men and women, women and women, people of color and whites, parents and children.
-The Dallas Morning News

What It's Like To Live Now

Unexpectedly compelling; fascinating, and heartening.
-The New York Times Book Review

A delight...a West Coast, distaff Woody Allen, with a good dollop more compassion.
-The Los Angeles Times

One mother's eloquent statement about choices in modern life...Brilliantly incisive.
-San Francisco Chronicle Book Review


The Advocate
American School Board Journal
Atlanta Southern Voice
Bay Area Reporter
Berkeley Daily Planet
Boston Globe
Business Times
Chatanooga (TN) Times
Christian Science Monitor
Contra Costa Times
Creative Loafing (Atlanta)
Daily News (New York)
Dallas Morning News
East Bay Express
Holt Uncensored
Kirkus Reviews
Lambda Book Report Library Journal
Los Angeles Times
Mobile Register (AL)
The Monthly
New Age Journal
New York Times Book Review

Oakland Tribune
Pacific Sun
Philadelphia Gay News
Psychology Today
Publishers Weekly
Roanoke Times (VA)
Riverfront Times (MO)
Russian River Times
San Francisco Chronicle
San Francisco Magazine
San Jose Mercury-News
Santa Cruz Metro
Santa Cruz Sentinel
Santa Rosa Press Democrat
Seattle Post-Intelligencer
School Library Journal
Teacher Magazine
USA Today
Vanity Fair
Washington Blade
Washington Post


Meredith has appeared on gazillions of national and local TV and radio programs including CSPAN Book TV and ABC, CBS, NBC, and Fox morning news shows. Her radio appearances include NPR's All Things Considered, To The Best of Our Knowledge, and Talk of the Nation. She gives great interview and especially loves the hair and makeup part.