Author: Roberta Temes, PhD.

Publisher: Readers Digest

ISBN: 978-1-62145-145-7

Dr. Roberta Temes is a psychotherapist. (2014, Back cover) She has authored numerous books of non-fiction. (The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Hypnosis, The Tapping Cure, and Living With an Empty Chair) Dr. Temes teaches memoir writing in New York, New Jersey, Florida, and on line at

The introduction offers an array of memoir specialties. (2014, p.VI-VIII) They can range from relationships to animals, to illnesses and religious experiences, to business and travel, or even the tell-all or disaster, including the coming-of-age, or call-to-action type memoirs.

Each chapter highlights the first thru the next day in the 30-day progression for completion of a memoir. For instance, to get you thoughts onto the first page Dr. Temes suggests that (2014, p.1) you “Think about your life and then sum it up in two to three sentences.” She states that “A memoir is not an autobiography…Memoirs are emotional reminiscences.” (p,4) There are examples for each step of this process that are helpful for the novice to keep on track.

Day 3 tell us that “If your thoughts and feelings are positive and happy, you will enhance your memories and your optimism as you recall the pleasant and cheerful aspects of your fortunate life.” (2014, p.13) Conversely, if your thoughts and feeling trend negative your memoir may appear as an unfortunate and horrid experience in your life. Both can be cathartic and help people in similar situations to work through those trying or blissful times in their lives.

Day 6 invites the writer to consider the mission of this memoir. Dr. Temes says “When you can state this mission in one sentence you have truly begun writing your memoir.” (2014, p.27) The test is to complete a simple sentence that begins as “My memoir describes what I went through in order to_____________.”

Day 7 delves into asking us to consider an important or life-changing event that made us change our path or influenced our mission. A short list of things/events that may have spurned this change are “…beautiful, frightening, unusual, and spiritual” according to Dr. Temes. (2014, p.33) She then says to “Write the story of that event.”

This may sound simple, but I assure you it is not. It is a soul-searching right-of-passage that invites us to consider events in our life in the context of patterns, values, and expectations. Wading through painful experiences can evoke a special strength and resilience that can help us with future life-changing events meanwhile, looking back at the special things that transpire in our lives can help is to keep fond and loving memories close to our heart and instill a sense of calm and peace.

I enjoyed the tid-bits and examples that Doctor Temes presented in this easy-to-read book. If you, or someone you know, has hopes of writing a memoir and needs a point of reference or how-to begin this deliberate and considerate process then I suggest you read this book and take heed of the tips and examples she provides.

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