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  • This Book Will Change Your Life - The History of Great Things by the Elizabeth Crane.

    - Some people might think this is a memoir.

    - It's so not a memoir.

    - It's not so not a memoir, Betsy. It's mostly not a memoir.

    - It is in no way a memoir, Mom.

    Some people might think that The History of Great Things by the Elizabeth Crane is a memoir, even if it's so not a memoir. But does it matter? It matters to the protagonist of Crane's mind-fuckingly new novel, who is Crane, or someone Crane-like, and who spends the novel talking to her mother, or someone who is Crane's mother-like, as they seek to tell one another eachother's life stories. Or do they? Did we mention the mind-fuckingness of the whole exercise? Because they do something, but when is a life story a life story? And again, does it matter when it's all so moving and raises so many questions about memory, loss and gried, and how well we know anyone when they're alive, much less when they've passed away. Further, what's our obligation to that person's memory if we choose to tell what might have been their story, but they aren't here to dispute or influence it, and this life we are seeking to capture cannot happen? Also - because we're on a roll here - what does the question of whether something is fiction or nonfiction even matter regardless of any of this? What's even the truth? We may not answer those questions here, or not today anyway, but what we can state unequivocally is that Elizabeth Crane's writing has always felt like a conversation to us - with herself, her readers, the characters themselves - and in that way, The History of Great Things feels like a natural extension of this gift. We would add, that Crane, along with Diane Lane and Scott Baio of course, is a long-time muse for this whole project - the blogging, the empire building, the writing, all of it - and we are reminded of the release of her short story collection You Must Be This Happy To Enter - which is one of the first times we ever wrote about her -and at the time we wrote, "Elizabeth Crane knows relationship, and she endlessly, and wonderfully, captures the pain, confusion, and glee that comes with them like few others." Some things never change apparently, though they are no less likely to change your life.