My Favorite Memoirs

Inspiring Books

I have learned from every one of these, have recommended all of them, and read twice most of them.

True life stories call to me; I am astounded and humbled by the strength and bravery of those who share their deepest secrets, thoughts, and pain with others. I thank you. These are all stories of meeting adversities head-on and overcoming them. This page reflects those memoirs and biographies that have touched my soul, made me laugh, made me cry. I have learned from every one of these, have recommended all of them, and read twice most of them. I wish you will find one or two that reach out to you or someone you love. As always, my hopes are for your hopes and dreams.

Running With Scissors

“Running With Scissors” by Augustine Burroughs is the story of his bizarre and occasionally brutal upbringing as the son of a mentally ill mother and an alcoholic father. A funny, harrowing and bestselling account of an ordinary boy’s survival under the most extraordinary circumstances
Running With Scissors

Smashed

“Smashed” by Koren Zailckas story is that of thousands of girls like her who are not alcoholics yet but who routinely use booze as a shortcut to courage and a stand-in for good judgment. Smashed is a sober look back at how she got there and, after years of blackouts and smashups, what it took for her to realize she had to stop drinking.
Smashed

Fall to Pieces

“Fall to Pieces” by Mary Forsberg Weiland is a blistering, eye-opening memoir of the Hollywood meltdown. Mary reveals the extreme highs and lows of her life, the volatility of which long hinted at her bipolar disorder. She tells her story with refreshing candor, unflinching detail, and more than a little humor.
Fall to Pieces

Don’t Lets Go To The Dogs Tonight

“Don’t Lets Go To The Dogs Tonight” by Alexandra Fuller is a remembrance of her African childhood with candor and sensitivity. Though it is a diary of an unruly life in an often inhospitable place, it is suffused with Fuller’s endearing ability to find laughter, even when there is little to celebrate. Fuller’s debut is unsentimental and unflinching but always captivating. In wry and sometimes hilarious prose, she stares down disaster and looks back with rage and love at the life of an extraordinary family in an extraordinary time.
Don't Lets Go To The Dogs Tonight

The Legend of Colton H Bryant

The Legend of Colton H Bryant by Alexandra Fuller is the unforgettable true story of a soulful boy with a mustang-taming heart who comes of age in the oil fields and open plains of Wyoming. Heart-wrenching and beautiful.
The Legend of Colton H Bryant

The Invisible Wall”, “The Dream” & “The Golden Willow

“The Invisible Wall”, “The Dream” & “The Golden Willow” by Harry Bernstein. Harry Bernstein started chronicling his life at the age of ninety-four, after the death of his beloved wife, Ruby. In his first book, The Invisible Wall, he told a haunting story of forbidden love in World War I-era England. Then Bernstein wrote The Dream, the touching tale of his family’s immigrant experience in Depression-era Chicago and New York. Now Bernstein completes the saga with The Golden Willow, a heart-lifting memoir of his life with Ruby, a romance that lasted nearly seventy years.
Harry Bernstein

A Lucky Child

“A Lucky Child” by Thomas Buergenthal became a judge in the International Court of Justice in the Hague. He arrived at Auschwitz at age 10 after surviving two ghettos and a labor camp. Separated first from his mother and then his father, Buergenthal managed by his wits and some remarkable strokes of luck to survive on his own. Almost two years after his liberation, Buergenthal was miraculously reunited with his mother and in 1951 arrived in the U.S. to start a new life. He writes his story with a simple clarity that highlights the stark details of unimaginable hardship.
A Lucky Child

One Hundred Names For Love

“One Hundred Names For Love” by Diane Ackerman opens a window into the experience of wordlessness—the language paralysis called aphasia. In narrating the recovery of her husband, Paul West, from a stroke that reduced his vast vocabulary to a single syllable, she evokes the joy and mystery of the brain’s ability to find and connect words. Deeply rewarding to readers of all kinds, Ackerman has given us a literary love story, accessible insight into the science and medicine of brain injury, and invaluable spiritual sustenance in the face of life’s myriad physical sufferings.
One Hundred Names For Love

Danny Boy

“Danny Boy” by Don McCullough s the poignant, funny, tragic, and ultimately uplifting story of a wounded, lonely boy and a country at war with itself during a defining era in American history. It is dedicated to all those who struggle to overcome adversity simply because there is no other choice.
"Danny Boy" by Don McCullough

Angela’s Ashes

“Angela’s Ashes” by Frank McCourt is a heartwarming and touching tale of one boy’s struggle of growing up in abject poverty in the rainy countryside of Ireland. Turning his struggles into the passage to a better and more fulfilling life. Finding a place where he can feel he truly belongs.
Angela's Ashes

The Longest Trip Home

“The Longest Trip Home” by John Grogan is the story of one son’s journey into adulthood to claim his place in the world. It is a story of faith and reconciliation, breaking away and finding the way home again, and learning in the end that a family’s love will triumph over its differences.

The Longest Trip Home

The Glass Castle

“The Glass Castle” by Jeannette Walls s a story of triumph against all odds, but also a tender, moving tale of unconditional love in a family that despite its profound flaws gave her the fiery determination to carve out a successful life on her own terms.

The Glass Castle

Baseball, Boys and Bad Word

“Baseball, Boys and Bad Word” by Andy Andrews. In 1970, eleven-year-old Andy Andrews and a group of friends began a Little League season they would never forget. All the usual ingredients were there—well-worn gloves, freshly cut grass, and new uniforms. But the addition of a coach who was “new to the area” is what made this season truly unforgettable for young Andy. It heartwarming and a ‘feel good’ read.
Baseball, Boys and Bad Word

A Box of Darkness

“A Box of Darkness” by Sally Ryder Brady is a moving and powerful story of coming to terms with what cannot be changed. A marriage with hidden truths and lies, it is also a story of great love.
A Box of Darkness

Furiously Happy

“Furiously Happy” by Jenny Lawson is, a humor memoir tinged with just enough tragedy and pathos to make it worthwhile, Jenny Lawson examines her own experience with severe depression and a host of other conditions and explains how it has led her to live life to the fullest: “I’ve often thought that people with severe depression have developed such a well for experiencing extreme emotion that they might be able to experience extreme joy in a way that ‘normal people’ also might never understand. And that’s what Furiously Happy is all about.”
Furiously Happy

Searching for Sunday

A memoir about making do and taking risks, about the messiness of community and the power of grace, Searching for Sunday is about overcoming cynicism to find hope and, somewhere in between, Church.
Searching for Sunday

Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus

“Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus” by Nabeel Qureshi describes his dramatic journey from Islam to Christianity, complete with friendships, investigations, and supernatural dreams along the way. a powerful story of the clash between Islam and Christianity in one man’s heart–and of the peace he eventually found in Jesus.
Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus

Pastrix-The Cranky, Beautiful Faith of a Sinner & Saint

“Pastrix-The Cranky, Beautiful Faith of a Sinner & Saint” by Nadia Bolz Weber shares her story in this wildly entertaining and deeply resonant memoir about an outrageous, unlikely life of faith. Bizarre, rich, and remarkable, PASTRIX turns spiritual memoir on its ear in a sardonically irreverent and beautifully honest page-turner that readers will never forget.
Pastrix-The Cranky, Beautiful Faith of a Sinner & Saint

The Hiding Place

“The Hiding Place” by Corrie ten Boom is her journey with unshaken faith while enduring unspeakable horror. When the Nazis invaded Holland, Corrie ten Boom’s quiet life turned into a nightmare. Because she made her home a “hiding place” for Jews, she and her family were sent to a concentration camp. Refusing to despair, Corrie discovered how Jesus can turn loss to glory! This unforgettable story will move you to tears and to joy.
The Hiding Place

Pillhead

“Pillhead: The Secret Life of a Painkiller Addict” by Joshua Lyon is compelling, the honest book that investigates the growing epidemic of prescription painkiller abuse among today’s Generation Rx. Through gripping profiles and heartbreaking confessions, this memoir dares to uncover the reality — the addiction, the withdrawal, and the recovery — of this newest generation of pill poppers.
Pillhead

The Sound of Gravel

“The Sound of Gravel by Ruth Wariner is the remarkable true story of a girl fighting for peace and love. This is an intimate, gripping tale of triumph, courage, and resilience, a riveting, deeply-affecting true story of one girl’s coming-of-age in a polygamist cult.
The Sound of Gravel

All Over But The Shoutin

All Over But The Shoutin'” by Rick Bragg is a haunting, harrowing, gloriously moving recollection of a life on the American margin. This is the story of Rick Bragg, who grew up dirt-poor in northeastern Alabama, seemingly destined for either the cotton mills or the penitentiary, and instead became a Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter for The New York Times. Absolutely phenomenal.
All Over But The Shoutin

Blackbird: A Childhood Lost

“Blackbird: A Childhood Lost” by Jennifer Lauck begins with a startling emotional immediacy of a fractured family photo album; Jennifer Lauck’s incandescent memoir is the story of an ordinary girl growing up at the turn of the 1970s and the truly extraordinary circumstances of a childhood lost. Wrenching and unforgettable, Blackbird will carry your heart away.
Blackbird:  A Childhood Lost

Come Back: A Mother and Daughter’s Journey through Hell and Back

“Come Back: A Mother and Daughter’s Journey through Hell and Back” by Mia Fontaine and Claire Fontaine. In powerful parallel stories, mother and daughter give mesmerizing first-person accounts of the nightmare that shattered their family and the amazing journey they took to find their way back to each other. Claire Fontaine’s relentless cross-country search for her missing child and ultimate decision to force her into treatment in Eastern Europe is a gripping tale of dead ends, painful revelations, and, at times, miracles
Come Back:  A Mother and Daughter's Journey through Hell and Back

Swallow the Ocean

“Swallow the Ocean” by Laura Flynn is a searing, beautifully written memoir of a childhood under siege of a mother’s mental illness and three young girls determined to survive. In luminous prose, this memoir paints a most intimate portrait of what might have been a catastrophic childhood.
Swallow the Ocean

High Achiever

“High Achiever” by Tiffany Jenkins An up-close portrait of the mind of an addict and a life unraveled by narcotics—a memoir of captivating urgency and surprising humor that puts a human face on the opioid crisis.
High Achiever

Hillbilly Elergy

“Hillbilly Elergy” by J. D. Vance is a passionate and personal analysis of a culture in crisis—that of white working-class Americans. The disintegration of this group, a process that has been slowly occurring now for more than forty years, has been reported with growing frequency and alarm, but has never before been written about as searingly from the inside.
Hillbilly Elergy

The Year of Magical Thinking

“The Year of Magical Thinking” by Joan Didion is a stunning book of electric honesty and passion. Joan Didion explores an intensely personal yet universal experience: a portrait of a marriage–and a life, in good times and bad–that will speak to anyone who has ever loved a husband or wife or child.
The Year of Magical Thinking

Dry

“Dry” by Augustine Burroughs s a memoir that’s as moving as it is funny, as heartbreaking as it is true. Dry is the story of love, loss, and Starbucks as a Higher Power. The ability to laugh at ourselves, survive our own mistakes, and keep picking it up and moving on, makes this a getting sober delight.
Dry

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