What is a memoir?
In my head, based on what I have read it is a book written by someone about people that that someone knew or knows and events that they remember (ought to remember).
That said, a memoir should not be fictional or contain information that is out rightly absurd and devoid of truth. It is about things that the author remembers and if it gets to a point where the author does not remember, he or she should not make things up. Making things up is bad in this instance. Very bad. A habit that should be dropped when you attain the age of majority unless you are a writer of fiction.
There have been cases, ridiculous ones, of people who have been mentioned in memoirs coming forward to say that the authors have written things that are untrue. Lies. Slander. Big bad untruths. It is mostly the unsavoury things though, like having sex with an imbecile niece, snorting too much of that and stealing dirty panties from laundry baskets, wearing them with the previous owner’s meaty skid marks intact and blah and blah. Of course no one will come out to object the paragraphs and sentences that paint them as nice little saints. These complaints and protests place the author in a tight holed fix because he has to prove that these guys were actually dicks and that he is not a liar decorating his book like a Christmas tree just to draw attention to it because other than the jingle bells and the cotton wool, the thing is a dead tree in a pot.
That is different from the guy who writes about things that did not exist at the time he records in the memoir. Putting a Samsung Galaxy in a man’s hand in say, 1978 is wrong. Quoting Britney Spears lyrics in a 1989 disco hall is a deadly sin. Reading J.K Rowling’s Harry P. (I am never sure about the Potter or the Porter) in 1991 is even worse. Rumour (very good rumour if I may add) has it that one Kenyan memoir writer fiend wrote unrealistic things in his little memoir. If there is any truth to that good rumour, I suggest we find him, light a bonfire and make him burn all the books that his publishers printed.
If it turns out that his memory failed him then we need to buy him loads of Ginko Biloba before he turns 60. If he had the ability to write fiction, we would have left him alone. But so far, no fiction worth talking home about from that diasporadical tourist.
NB: I was bored out of my skull writing this post. No fun at all.