Recently, I reviewed a memoir that I really disliked. I do my very best to not attack the author when I review their book, but with memoirs... the main character is the author. Because I disagreed with this main character's behavior, I also disagreed with the author's behavior. The author's feelings were hurt, and they attacked my opinions publicly on a social media network.
It's very hard to review a memoir, because it is so much more personal to the author than a fictitious story. It takes a lot of courage to publish a story about an important part of your life, because people will rip it apart and judge you. I do admire authors who do that. However, in doing so people will critique their ways. I feel it is my job and responsibility to share my opinions with my readers, who have gotten to know me and my reviews. I do my best to always explain the things I liked in addition to things I did not. Even if I hate a book, I can come up with one or two redeeming qualities for it. Shouldn't that matter more than my opinion of the author? I mean, if I state that I took a lot away from the book and learned a lot about myself, isn't that more important than my opinion of what the author chose to do or not do?
So I guess what I'm asking is this: If you receive a memoir or biography, how do you go about reviewing it? Do you critique the writing only, or do you discuss the "characters" (who are real-life people) too? It's a tricky situation, but I'd love to hear your thoughts. If this has never happened to you, what would you do?