The author suggests five motivations for autobiography—persuasion, disguise, transcendence, self-justification, and invitation to peek. Her example for persuasion is Frederick Douglass, who wrote his autobiography three times, in 1845, 1855, and 1881. Each was less experiential and more polemical about abolishing slavery. For disguise she chooses Philip Roth, whose autobiography, she claims, tries to throw readers off the track of his novels, which "practically scream autobiography" (p. 131). For transcendence, it is Jamaica Kincaid, trying to escape a hurtful relationship with her mother. For self-justification, the author chooses Kathryn Harrison, who had a sexual relationship with her father as a young adult. Finally, for an invitation to peek, she chooses as an example Frank McCourt (rather than, as one might expect, Esther Williams ). Engel herself also reveals more than we need to know about herself, her "fat and soft" (p. 2) grandmother, and her relationships.