Confessions: Fact or Fiction? (Chrysalis Publishing, 2011) is an interesting anthology of short fiction and creative nonfiction by Herta B. Feely (Author) and Marian O’Shea Wernicke (Editor). The main element of interest in the book is the uncategorized nature of each story—leaving it to the reader to guess whether they are reading fiction or nonfiction.
These stories are mainly first-person narratives. The style of storytelling varies and includes some experimental ones. Like most other stories, these are predominantly about relationships, mainly inter-personal ones. However, some stories, like A. Terrell Washington’s “The Grass Widow” treat the intrapersonal as the primary focus of character development.
Themes of self-development and moving on recur throughout the book. The series of characters coming to terms with who they are or have been reflects the title Confessions in their personal voice. The confessions are not always overt and the resolution is not always obvious.
Herta B. Feely makes the point in the book’s Introduction that it’s not always easy to mark a clear division between fiction and memoir. So she challenges readers to guess whether they are seeing one or the other in the pages to follow. At the end of the book, each story is revealed as fiction or nonfiction. This format makes it a good pick for literature courses, particularly those teaching the defining elements of fiction, nonfiction, and biography.