Now, there are two types of memoirs in my mind: those about famous people, and those that aren't. Both have their pros and cons. More people are likely to notice a famous memoir at the bookstore and buy it based on the celebrity's name -- but "common folk" memoirs don't have pre-conceptions, politics, and religious perspectives to overcome. Or you're like me, who likes whatever she reads as long as its good. Whatever you like to read, here are a few memorable memoirs that I'd recommend you read.
With memoirs written by writers, you rightfully expect that the memoir is as good of a read as their non/fiction tales. None of the following authors will let you down!
's memoirs, which are split into childhood and adulthood, are as imaginatively funny and horrible gruesome as his fictional tales (did you know that his nose was practically sliced off in an accident?). Beverly Cleary
's memoirs, also split between youth and adulthood, show how she and her literary celebrity Ramona Quimby are very similar. link
's memoir isn't a straight progression of her life but rather chapters of the traumatic (her father and older brother dying of brain tumors in the same year) and the humorous (being part of a rock-n-roll band with fellow writers Dave Barry, Stephen King, and Chris Rankin).
Then there are those spectacular memoirs written by 'ordinary' folks, but whose memoirs reveal the challanges they had to overcome in their life, whether they be economic, political, religious, or health-related.
, who distinctly designed her memoirs as graphic novels, details how her childhood wasn't much of a childhood during the Islamic Revolution in Iran. Azar Nafisi
combines her days as a English literature professor in Tehran also during the Islamic Revolution with spectacularly insightful dissections of Lolita
, The Great Gatsby
and Pride and Prejudice
. Jeannette Walls
reveals how her parents' free-spirit/anti-government attitudes encouraged self-sufficency, as well as extreme poverty. Daniel Tammet
's writing might seem slightly stilted, without much emotion, but that is because he is an autistic savant with Asperger's syndrome (sufferers has difficulty identifying with others' emotions). And Terry Ryan
's mother only managed to keep her eleven-member family out of the poor house by winning companies' advertising contests, submitting such poems as:
All of these memoirs I've read (and re-read) and enjoyed immensely. I do hope you pick them up at the library or bookstore and read them -- and would greatly appreciate any recommendations from y'all!
Summary list of recommended memoirs
*By Roald Dahl - Boy: Tales of Childhood
and Going Solo
*By Beverly Cleary - A Girl from Yamhill
and My Own Two Feet
*By Amy Tan - The Opposite of Fate
*By Marjane Satrapi - Persepolis
and Persepolis 2
*By Azar Nafisi - Reading Lolita in Tehran: A Memoir in Books
*By Jeannette Walls - The Glass Castle
*By Daniel Tammet - Born on a Blue Day: Inside the Extraordinary Mind of an Autistic Savant
*By Terry Ryan - The Prize Winner of Defiance, Ohio
Soapboax Article by Cressida Hanson