Difference Between Memoir and Autobiography

Edited by Diffzy | Updated on: May 14, 2023


Difference Between Memoir and Autobiography

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An individual is said to be lived an end number of lives. A human being forms several relations in his lifetime. These relationships help in forming a connection. The connection can be emotional or formal as it matters on the bond the emotion develops. Often we heard about the term autobiography. That this person has published his autobiography or this was published after his death etc. It can be anything. Sometimes this is linked to another term "memoir" which is quite similar to the autobiography. Both narrate the life incidents of the author or the person involved. But can they be similar or are they the same terms with different wording? In certain instances, they are often referred to as the same things and have identical features. But because they have differences they stand out.

Memoir vs Autobiography

A memoir is limited to one memory of the person or it can be a collection of more than one memory. But an autobiography is not just a collection of any random memory a person had at one time rather it is a full-fledged description of the life events of a person. An autobiography is written by the subject, as opposed to a memoir, which could be written by close family or friends.

 The focus of a memoir is typically on the feelings associated with a particular event or recollection, whereas an autobiography explains why each action was taken. In contrast to autobiography, which requires careful research and knowledge, we can say that memoir is a more casual topic.

Difference between Memoir and Autobiography in tabular form

Parameters of comparisonMemoirAutobiography
MeaningA memoir is a collection of memories to remember.An autobiography is the detailed narration of a person's entire life experiences.
Point of focusIt focuses on the one memory of entire life experiences.An autobiography focuses on all the phases that have happened in a lifetime.
SequenceThere is no proper sequence of a memoir. Memories can go back and forth.A proper sequence is followed while drafting an autobiography. It's always in chronological order.
Theme or subjectA memoir is theme based as a particular memory is selected based on experience.An autobiography is subject based as it includes the entire life experiences of a person.
Difficulty levelThe difficulty level is super low in a memoir as it is only for the memory of the closed one.The difficulty level is high as compared to the Memoir as an autobiography includes proper research and facts on the life of the author.

What is Memoir?

We can define memoir in simple words as something to remember. The term memoir has occurred from the French word "mémoir" which means memory. Memories are a very precious and intimate aspect of one's life. A person holds thousands of memories but is only able to remember a few in his life. So it holds an emotional connection to that particular memory that a person or an individual wants to preserve. A memoir is kind of a legacy an individual wants to leave for his loved ones. To be able to remember the memories. It's mostly in written form with a combination of personal experiences and personal images. A memoir is a very private thing to be shared with the rest of the world. It can be stated that it is a narrow concept as compared to a biography or Autobiography. Memoirs have a rich history.

In the past, Saint Augustine's "confession" is described in his memoirs. which has a more significant historical meaning. The memoir "A promised land" was authored by Barak Obama, the 44th president of the United States of America. He has authored a political autobiography. The president's first lady also wrote an aspiring memoir. The memoir she has authored is "Becoming" by Michael Obama. From 2009 through 2017, she maintained the honor of being recognized as the first female African-American.

Further, we will discuss some of the types of Memoir in which they can be formed which are as follows

Types of Memoir

Confessional memoir

To confess something requires a lot of courage. It's a bold decision to be ever made. Aspen Matis wrote one of such daring and heartbreaking confessions about how she was raped by a classmate on her college's second night. It was mentioned in the "Girl in the Woods: A Memoir" by Aspen Matis.

Personal experiences

People tend to write about their personal experiences with something that has had an impact on their life. They might encounter difficulties as a consequence of something like this. "I'm Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban," by Malala Yousafzai, the protagonist of the story, is one of the best instances of such a book. It even got an award for outstanding memoirs.

Travel memoir

Traveling often opens the door to another world. Traveling can be a thrilling adventure filled with lots of bittersweet memories. "A thousand new beginnings" by Kristin Addis is a memoir filled with wanderlust. It shows the excitement of experiencing something new, a thrill, and a rush of adrenaline.

Personal transformation memoir

This is a kind of memoir that reflects the journey of an individual, and his struggle to achieve something. It reflects the changes one experience or have to go through while growing up. The memories can be sweet and salty depending upon the life situations and hurdles that one has to face alone. There's one thing that memoirs have a short lifespan which means it shorter stories.

There's no definite number on the types of Memoir just like the one does not have the count on the type and number of memories he has in his life.

Characteristics of a Memoir

  • A memoir aims at defining the life experience of his r her personal life based on personal experiences.
  • The objective is to inspire others. Those who are closed will be touched and feel motivated by the events and will hold on to the legacy of the person.
  • A memoir can be anything in writing whether a book, simple essays, personal diaries, poetry anything.
  • Memoirs can raise awareness regarding certain issues prevailing in society which will have a deep impact.
  • While drafting a memoir the process can

For writing a good mémoir a memory is not enough. other things are also necessary while framing a remarkable memoir to have a long-lasting impact on the readers.

Some of the tips for writing a good memoir are as follows

  • The content should be original and not copied from any other person.
  • One should experience the process while drafting a memory in the record.
  • A deep memory or an impactful experience should be chosen as a subject for writing a memoir.
  • The journey should have a hook point to engage the readers.
  • An excellent memoir should show signs of personal transformation.

What is an Autobiography?

A biography and an autobiography exhibit many similarities. An autobiography is when a particular individual opts to write about their entire life in the manner of their thoughts and circumstances. An account of one's life is written in the first person, reflecting the author's perspective. I, my, and me are every word that appears throughout the autobiography. The episodes in the author's autobiography are real incidents that took place in his or her life. A person discloses his or her real-life experiences, lessons learned, and deepest, innermost secrets in an autobiography. It's a compelling approach for wrapping up one's existence. The full person's life is covered in the autobiography.

We have several famous personalities who have written their autobiographies. Some renowned people and their autobiographies are as follows

  • The book "An Autobiography: The Story of my experiments with Truth" by Mahatma Gandhi, better known as the father of our nation of India, details his influential experiences throughout his existence. The writer of the autobiography was Mahatma Gandhi.
  • The most well-known autobiography of its era was "A Long Walk to Freedom," authored by Nelson Mandela during his presidency. It covers both historical developments and some personal occurrences in his life.

Following is the subject matter that an autobiography includes

  • Childhood memories
  • Family and friends
  • Adulthood
  • Relationships
  • Work-life

Childhood memories

It is commonly accepted that childhood is the most joyful period in one's life. The memories are uncountable. People begin forming memories in their adolescent years and keep doing so throughout every phase of their lives. When talking about autobiographies, we typically begin with childhood. It's the most innocent period in life since we start to understand everything.

Family and friends

No autobiography is complete without a description of the parents and the family. Family is the core of our entire life. All the experiences that we gain are outcomes of our family in one way or another. Everyone has a role to play in the well-being of a person, including our parents, grandparents, siblings, and neighbors. Our friends come first, then family. Having fresh experiences and renewed drive to do new things come with having friends. They inspire us to take risks.


It's that stage of our life where we are just trying to adjust from the teenage period to the adult lifestyle. The period starts from the early 20s. It's the start of the personal growth of the author. Dramatic incidents in life may serve as inspiration for the making of an autobiography. Even the context underlying the author's autobiography might originate from his grown-up experiences. At that point in their journeys, people commit multiple blunders.


In relationships, one can share the experiences of past or present relationships. Some relationships may be to blame for the trauma a person will ever endure. One can go into greater depth about their development and experiences during that time in the course of their autobiography.


The author can recount his or her professional experiences while at work. The setting in which one works is of the utmost significance and has a long-term impact. One might discuss the person's goals, failures, and successes.

The above-mentioned are some of the matters which an author could include in his autobiography. There can be any significant moment that might have occurred in these phases of the author's lifetime.

Differences between Memoir and Autobiography in points

  • Mmemoir or a collection of memories that might have occurred at a significant point in life. Whereas an autobiography is not just any memory to be shared but it is the lifetime record of an individual's life.
  • Memoir is quite a narrower subject while Autobiography has a wide concept that has wider horizons as compared to memoir.
  • A memoir describes one's experience regarding a particular theme whereas an autobiography is written in chronological order. An autobiography follows a sequence of experiences.
  • A memoir takes into account a particular aspect or phase of life whereas an autobiography includes not only one aspect but the whole journey of coming out of that phase of life.
  • A memoir is kind of a story whereas an autobiography is more than just a story.
  • A memoir is a way to overcome a bad experience while an autobiography tells about the process of all the happenings.


One can readily conclude that life is a delightful idea in light of everything that has been said above. A lifetime could potentially be filled with an extensive spectrum of emotions. People may come and go, but the recollections and moments they share with their loved ones and others endure no matter what.  It's up to people how they want themselves to be remembered. Memoirs and autobiographies both come into the same genre when we consider them as the point of view of books.

we have some of the best-selling autobiographies on the amazon and other sites.

It is possible to discover one's true self through memoirs and autobiographies. Finding inner peace is facilitated by the entire process, which aids in overcoming the memories. One can only ever travel in such beauty. Personalities like Malala Yousafzai, Barak Obama, Nelson Mandela, and Mahatma Gandhi have given us beautiful gifts in the form of their memoir and autobiographies. It has everything a person needs to have a happy and fulfilled existence. We should treasure the recollections that memoirs and autobiographies offer.


  • https://www.blurb.com/blog/memoirs-biographies-autobio
  • https://www.britannica.com/dictionary/eb/qa/The-Difference-between-Memoir-and-Autobiography


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"Difference Between Memoir and Autobiography." Diffzy.com, 2024. Sat. 02 Mar. 2024. <https://www.diffzy.com/article/difference-between-memoir-and-autobiography>.

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