Heather Chaplin On Turning Her Intimate Thoughts Into A Memoir

Reckless Years: A Diary Of Love and Madness is a page turning memoir that is shocking, honest, and brilliantly written. Heather Chaplin, the talented author, tells the story of when she tried to reinvent her life after a divorce and discovers that sometimes finding yourself isn't all that it's cracked up to be! Chaplin started religiously journaling all of her thoughts, and personal tidbits about her life. The moment she decided that she wanted to leave her husband, she began to write down everything that happened between the two. Her rule was that no matter what happens that day, you have to write down some sort of of story. Whether it was her thoughts, how she was feeling that day, or an observation of someone walking down the street, Chaplin wrote it down! As a journalist, Chaplin recognized the importance of details and realized how many good ones there were in her notebooks, which is how Reckless Years came to life!

Chaplin explains how the details in her memoir are extremely personal, revealing secrets that her closest family members and friends may not even know. "The scariest thing about this is that we all have inner voices," Chaplin said. "Mostly though, we don't make our inner voices public, hence the term inner. So I am aware that in this book, I don't come off as the nicest person in the world all of the time and I can only hope that other people's inner voices are similar to mine. Honestly this book saved me. There's something about writing down what you're feeling that is so profoundly therapeutic." 

Reckless Years dives deep into the unraveling of Chaplin's 10-year marriage. She was not happy and felt suffocated by her husband who appears to be falling apart and not doing anything about it, while she carries the relationship both emotionally and financially. Once divorced, Chaplin goes on a trip to Ireland with her bother and reaches a significant turning point in her life, meeting a man whom she thinks is her soulmate. This memoir is brutally honest, combining that aspect with the urgency of good fiction mixed with witty humor makes for a true-page turner!

What makes Reckless Years so deliciously addictive, is that Chaplin never planned on sharing these intimate thoughts in her journals with anyone else! Everything she wrote was truly honest, and not meant for the public eye, which is why the memoir is so raw. Fourteen moleskin notebooks and 400 pages in Microsoft word later, Chaplin had her memoir, even if she didn't know it yet.

The full episode of the Public Library Podcast dives into the reactions from Chaplin's friends and family after the book was published, why the memoir gave her a sense of shame, and many more juicy details!

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