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Memoirs of a Dilettante Volume One Paperback – January 14, 2015

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Helena Hann-Basquiat dabbles in whatever she can get her hands into just to say that she has. She’s written cookbooks, ten volumes of horrible poetry that she bound herself in leather she tanned poorly from cows she raised herself and then slaughtered because she was bored with farming. She has an entire portfolio of macaroni art that she’s never shown anyone, because she doesn't think that the general populous, or, “the great unwashed masses” as she calls them, would understand the statement she was trying to make with them. Helena writes strange, dark fiction under the name Jessica B. Bell Find more of her writing at www.helenahb.com or connect with her via Twitter @HHBasquiat
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The latest book club pick from Oprah
"The Underground Railroad" by Colson Whitehead is a magnificent novel chronicling a young slave's adventures as she makes a desperate bid for freedom in the antebellum South. See more

Product Details

  • Paperback: 294 pages
  • Publisher: Dilettante Publishing; 2 edition (January 14, 2015)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0994041918
  • ISBN-13: 978-0994041913
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.7 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #8,082,509 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
One of the things I struggle with when reading memoir is trusting the narrator. That may seem strange because the very nature of memoir implies that it is being written from the person who lived the experience, through their honest and perceptive eyes.

But let's be honest, we all view our lives in retrospect, and color our stories through the blurred lenses of memory. Whenever I read a memoirs of times long past,--20, 30, 40 years--filled with explicit details of what people wore or ate any given day, I immediately wonder, how can you possibly remember that? I don't trust the narrator. Unless someone has kept anal, detailed diaries of every moment of their lives or has a photographic memory of everything they've seen, said, or done, I tend to doubt their ability to clearly tell the stories of times long past.

That is why it was such a delight and relief to read MEMOIRS OF A DILETTANTE, VOLUME ONE by Helena Hann-Basquiat. Helena explains it herself on the very first page of the book:
". . . Whether for the sake of narrative,or because the bitter pill of truth is always easier to swallow with a candy coating of pretty lies, I may have blurred the lines between truth and fiction.
Consider this a cowardly confession; I find it easier to tell certain autobiographical tales if they are dressed up in another set of clothes. . . ."

Perhaps this caveat will make some say, well then this is fiction not memoir, and avid memoir fans will turn away, but it would be their loss. Who hasn't thought about telling their own story as if they were a character in a book, rather than the complete reality of their lives? Who hasn't embellished their own experiences somewhat to make their lives seem more exciting and interesting, or perhaps a little less terrifying?
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Format: Paperback
Memoirs of a Dilettante is a delightful romp through Helena Hann-Basquiat's ever churning brain. Who doesn't want an adventure filled life? Who is brave enough to embark on one? Living vicariously has never been smarter, funnier, or more heartfelt. It's been a long time since I've read a book with footnotes that I actually wanted to read. The Dilettante and her sidekick Countess Penelope are the best friends you've never had but desperately want. The hippest hipsters who reference Kill Bill, Morrissey, Jimmy Stewart and Charles Manson with as much ease as stepping off the bus into a pack of Asian tourists. Bravo, Helena. A romp well worth taking.
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