Book review: Memoir and Misinformation: a novel by Jim Carrey and Dana Vachon

Before listening to Memoirs and Misinformation: a novel, so brilliantly narrated by Jeff Daniels (who does all the impersonations so well I forgot it was him), all I knew of Jim Carrey’s non-movie life was that he sold paintings, and that he had some legal trouble about an ex.

None of that mattered. You don’t need a primer on Jim’s life to enjoy this book.

A memoir is a collection of memories. The disclaimer of adding misinformation to the title is a playful reminder of the fragility of memory. All memories are prone to distortion or of being created out of nothing. Our confidence in our own memory is a hilarious part of being human. If you want to delve into that rabbit hole, listen to Malcolm Gladwell’s 3-part special on Revisionist History starting with A Polite Word for Liar, Season 3, episode 3.)

As if the clever title isn’t enough to give Jim total creative license, this book is a novel. This is tricky to remember because the book reads like a memoir at times. The character Jim and the characters of celebrities I feel like I know, have some pretty wild adventures, but also mundane enough exchanges to be based on real life. Just when you think, yes, this could possibly have happened, been true, an unlikely celebrity reveals a penchant for bloodlust.

This book is romp, a head-scratching delight, and possibly a deep, dark take on our current-day world. At times I felt a little lost, a little uncomfortable, but always within the realm of human experience, and I never lost my empathy for the character Jim.

As a writer, I read this and thought, Shit. What do I have to do to feel this unlimited in my own writing? This free? This tapped-in to my humanity? Maybe paint controversial works of art? Maybe have lived ten lives in one?

Memoirs and Misinformation: a novel is like taking a trip through one man’s mind. Not all of it’s beautiful, and it must be exhausting to have that mind, but it’s a mind that is worth visiting all the same.

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