Memoirs provide us with incredible stories we can relate to and learn a lot from. There is an abundance of beauty in the human experience and the real-life stories of others keep us inspired and motivated. These seven memoirs encapsulate the experiences of relatable and resilient individuals, and are sure to evoke an excess of emotion in any reader.
Tomboyland by Melissa Faliveno
Growing up in Midwest America comes with distinct gender standards, as expressed by Melissa Faliveno in her essays about her childhood. Faliveno never fully identified with her identity as a girl and clung to more “boyish” activities that led to feelings of isolation. These darkly humorous and honest essays question identity and belonging, as Faliveno reminisces on her upbringing in a midwestern household.
Have You Seen These Children? by Veronica Slaughter
The story of four children from the Philippines, Valorie, Veronica, Vance and Vincent were kidnapped from their familiar lives and sent to live in America where they spent the next years of their lives running from the law. This memoir illustrates the struggles the siblings endured including the separation from their mother, along with discrimination and poverty that came with the new life they were forced into.
Eat a Peach by David Chang
Eat a Peach is the memoir of David Chang, a Korean American who left for Japan straight out of college and became the chef and owner of Momofuku Noodle Bar. Chang recounts the unexpected events that led up to his success, his intense battles with mental illness, and his undying passion for food. His journey to the top of the restaurant industry gives us an intimate glimpse into the eyes of an arduous chef.
Rootlines by Rikki West
Rikki and her sister, Linda, were not on speaking terms when Linda emailed Rikki about her malignant tumors and requirements of a complete bone marrow transplant in order to survive. While Linda claims that Rikki is too old to be a match, Rikki is determined to become the perfect candidate to save her sister. Rootlines is Rikki West’s personal journey in transforming her body through yoga, kickboxing and a vegetarian diet, all for the sake of beating her sister’s cancer. This inspiring memoir unravels the intimacy of sisterly love as well as defying the limitations of the body.
Intimations by Zadie Smith
Zadie Smith, author of White Teeth and Swing Time, speaks through a series of essays that touch on the human experience, including the relationships between people as well as time and work. Smith opens up a discussion of reality and suffering in her illuminating perspective and encourages the reader to reflect in these thought-provoking essays. All royalties made from Intimations go to charity.
I Have Something to Tell You by Chasten Buttigieg
From the husband of former mayor and presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg, I Have Something to Tell You provides a behind-the-scenes perspective of a gay man living in the midwest. Chasten Buttgieg describes his journey coming to terms with his sexual orientation, his feelings of ostracization from his brothers and father, and the story of how he met his boyfriend who would become his husband, Pete, Chasten Buttigieg’s memoir is filled to the brim with honesty and warmth and is a testament to being content with one’s self.
The Art of Losing It by Rosemary Keevil
After the loss of her brother from AIDS and husband from cancer all in a short time frame, Rosemary Keevil’s life teeters into addiction as she struggles to take care of herself and her two young daughters. The Art of Losing It paints a real picture of grief and the toll it has on a young, widowed mother. Keevil shares her experiences of surviving loss, taking care of two children and battling addiction in this raw memoir.
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