I'm not sure if the writer should publicly "lay bare" the people they've known intimately - whether that's a sexual intimacy or the intimacy that comes from deep friendship or sharing common space, common ground. I'm not sure everything's fair game when it comes to first- person writing, nor am I sure I buy into the viewpoint that publishing what you are confronting through your writing is necessarily a bravery. I guess what I'm struggling with is the following: Because you are engaged in the process of explaining yourself to yourself, which in a sense is the first act of memoir, does that mean there are no boundaries? The ego, after all (and I use ego without negative connotions, the "I" perspective, not as egotistical), sees reality pretty much through his or her own "eye/I." Where does that leave the subject - the "he or she" who did this to me? And when you have an audience as big as Natalie Goldberg's - wow. That's public crucifixion - perhaps even crucifiction - since it is personal perspective.
The book is very well written (sometimes I can hear Natalie's voice putting herself through her writing exercises - and I mean that literally, I've listened to her audiotapes). But sheesh, I just wonder about the role of love in it all, and compassion, and trust, whether it is fair and write/right to do what's she's done.
In a way, she is at the cutting edge of "boomer-dom." She's written a memoir about what the huge demographic is now experiencing, the death of their parents- whether figurative or literal father/mother figures. It is how she handles this figurative father that I question in particular, although I have questions about her actual father, too. In her first book, she sets her Buddhist teacher on a pedestal. In this book, she takes him off.
As the writer, Natalie edits. There are parts where I want to say to her, okay Nat, let's explore HERE. Dig deeper into your own motivation and shortcomings, you've hinted at them. Like when she acknowledges with regret that her former husband, at the young age of thirty, faced the death of his parents alone because she was at the buddhist centre, doing zazen - sitting meditation - literally hours at a time. Days on end. That, to me, was internal bravery on Nat's part, to see that about herself. I wanted more there...
This isn't all theoretical to me - much of my recent writing is from the first-person perspective. So the struggle is real.