At last Stein decided to undertake the project herself, like Defoe writing the autobiography of Robinson Crusoe, and indeed one could say that most writers who choose first-person narrators are writing the autobiographies of their characters. At the same time this is a very sly way for the authors themselves to write their own autobiographies. Stein is able to relate the exciting events of her life and describe her own actions from a technically objective point of view. Of course Toklas would paint Stein in glowing colors, as her lifelong friend, and Stein takes careful advantage of this. It is also a boon to her that she need not become introspective or give reasons for any of her actions. Toklas, as the subject, is given thoughts and emotions, but Stein is free from explaining herself.
I must say this is rather refreshing, especially considering our modern tendency to examine every detail of the lives of others and speculate on their motives and feelings. Surely Stein had doubts and troubles, but why should she display these for our pleasure? Everyone saw her as a rather impulsive, opinionated woman who did as she liked and said what she thought, and it must have been enjoyable for her to look at herself through someone else's eyes. In fact, this seems to me to be a monumental achievement; I certainly could not rise above self-criticism to paint myself as a friend might. I admire Stein's courage and audacity.
"I write for myself and strangers." --Gertrude Stein