Nieman Storyboard does it again with this fantastic piece by Ben Yagoda (author of Memoir: A History) and Dan DeLorenzo. They suggest the issue of “truthiness” (Stephen Colbert’s word, not theirs) comes down to a nuanced answer:
Inaccuracy is a problem in a memoir based on the extent to which it gets details as well as larger truths demonstrably wrong, depicts identifiable people in a negative light, fails to recognize the limits of memory, is poorly written, is self-serving, or otherwise wears its agenda on its sleeve. The more of these things it does and the more egregiously it does them, the bigger the problem is.
They also come up with a points system (“half-facetious, but also half-serious”) for rating memoirs, which is worth a look at. — Kim