Sunday, September 21, 2014

Discussion: Semi-Biographical Fiction

Today's topic is about what we think about semi-biographical fiction! 

To start off, what is it? - When an author writes a book partially based on their life, in short. 

I don't think I've read any semi-biographical fiction. What I have read is some stuff that people presume is, which really isn't. A prime example, the book that actually kick-started this discussion topic, is new debut Solitaire by Alice Oseman.

Oseman is only 19 (!!) and her book is about a sixth-former, who is really pessimistic and has a lot of difficulty with her family and friends. (It's amazing, just to say.) Now, a LOT of people have asked her if it's kind of based on her life. And time and time again, she has said no. But people still think it is. She's said there are a lot of little references to her education/school, but it isn't based on her life. The main character is not her. I think quite a few authors have been through this and it must be kind of annoying. 

In terms of what I think about semi-biographical books; I don't really mind. After all, I don't know about their life, so really it's just another fictional story, right? If, say, a friend wrote it, and I could tell, I wouldn't want to read it because I'd know everything that was going to happen and that defeats the point of a book. 

I wrote a 10K story when I was 11, and it had similarities to me and some of my history, but not enough to be like my life. (Looking back it was awful, but hey. Still proud.)

So yeah. I don't mind, because normally we don't know when the book is based on an authors' life, do we?

Before this topic for discussion came up, I had no idea what this was and didn’t know many books being semi-biographical. Now that I have learnt what it is, I love it. If all of my favourite authors wrote fiction books based on their lives or things that they have done then I would go out and buy every single one of them. I think what I like about it is that it is still fiction but the authors are connected to it in, maybe a character or a characters struggle and how they have overcome it which personally, I am really interested in. What I didn’t know is that Jane Eyre and Little Women are based on Charlotte Brontë’s and Louisa May Alcott’s personal experiences which actually makes me want to read them! Basically, I think it is great and I’m really interested in it now.

Do you like semi-biographical fiction?

Have you read any of the books mentioned?


  1. When a book is semi biographical it kind of scares me. I get a little freaked out that I'm reading about somebody else because it is FICTION. I choose to live an ignorant life of not caring whether or not it is semi biographical.

    Amelia @ YA Bookologists (

  2. I actually haven't read any semi-biographical fiction (that I can recall), but I do think it's quite interesting to think about. I'm not sure if I would care one way or another if it was based off the author's life. If the book is good, it's good! I mean, it may be interesting for those authors who I love and want to know more about - it would be a cool way to learn about them while still getting to read one of their stories. But generally speaking, I think even if I knew a story was semi-biographical I wouldn't really pay much attention to that aspect. I think I would still just judge the story how I always do, and then afterwards go "Oh yeah, it's connected to her real life. Interesting!"

    I'm not sure if any of that makes sense. haha. It is an interesting thing to think about though! I wonder why we don't see many examples of this around? Probably too embarrassing for everyone involved? XP


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