Some journalists I know refuse to write about their families. Others have made a career of it: one thinks of the noxious and self-obsessed Liz Jones and Nirpal Dhalirwal.
At least those two had a right of reply to the other's whingeing; the relatives of most confesional writers don't have this opportunity. I enjoy Tim Dowling's column in the Guardian Weekend magazine but he paints a pretty uncompromising picture of his wife. I wonder how this works for them at home. Is their relationship as grim as he portrays it or is it a comic fiction? And what does Mrs Dowling make of it?
She is, however, an adult, whereas Amy Hanson's sister Celeste is just 15 yet is subjected to a fearsome character assassination in today's Guardian Family section. Amy, 29, recounts a disastrous-sounding trip to a music festival that culminates in Celeste "sobbing and screaming and swearing about what a bitch I am and how I've ruined her life".
Maybe it's all fine - the two of them were photographed together for the piece, which suggests some sort of agreement between the two. But I can't help wondering what it's like for a 15-year-old girl to read an article like that about herself, which says pretty unequivocally that her grown-up sister really doesn't like her that much. I wonder too about Amy's motivations in writing it.
UPDATE It's worse than I thought. Amy Hanson is Michele Hanson's daughter. Michele Hanson writes, inter alia, about her elderly mother and the indignities of ageing. And so does Amy, but with less apparent empathy ("Crapping herself must have been the most exciting part of her day"). Poor Mrs Hanson senior, her every bedridden arthritic and incontinent moment turned into copy by her daughter and granddaughter. Won't someone give her a column, too?