Educated, Hunger, Born A Crime, Hillbilly Elegy, Happiness: The Crooked Little Road to Semi-Ever After

I love reading about someone else’s life, to learn and experience life through another mind and heart. Here are my five favorite memoirs from the last six months.

educatedEducated by Tara Westover

I learned how to be an adult through my family. Growing up, my father made sure that I did not have to worry about anything but just being a happy kid. I had a loving home. I was never hungry. I never had to worry about money. I also learned from being at schools how to breakdown problems and think logically.

Tara grew up in a completely different family and environment from me, much less loving support and order. Reading her memoir, I am so impressed by how strong she was. It is an eye-opening story about perseverance, fighting to live one’s own life against all odds, and making sense of it all.

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hunger

Hunger, A Memoir of (My) Body by Roxane Gay

I was always a stick growing up, until I started taking the medication for schizophrenia. Now, compounding that with aging, I gain weight very easily. I try my best to manage this.

Roxane talks about her body and weight with amazing clarity. Similar to me, there were triggers, life changing events, for her.  Trigger might fad in our memories if we were lucky. But we are still left to manage the after effects. I command Roxane’s brutal honesty and letting me learn more about her both outside and inside.

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bornBorn a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhoodby Trevor Noah

I am lucky that for most of my life I felt that I belonged, to the country I was born in, in the family I grew up with, in the new country where I became independent, where I lived and worked.

In South Africa, Trevor was born a crime because of the races of his parents. He had to hide. He had to be careful. As he grew older, he had to find groups and places where he felt like he belonged. He had to navigate complicated racial issues, just like breathing air, through his smart and wit. A great memoir about being triumphant through all the racial odds the world dealt him.

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hillbillyHillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisisby J. D. Vance

I feel quite ordinary like J. D. Vance. I am writing a memoir even though I feel that I have not accomplished anything great. But J. D. Vance has! The world that he grew up and lived in kept generations of people in the same place. Lives were hard for him and everyone around him. It was hard to see a way out. This is part of the America we live in today. This is a very honest memoir about abuse, alcoholism, and poverty in middle America. As I read this, I thought, we can not forget and turn a blind eye on this part of our country.

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happinessHappiness: A Memoir: The Crooked Little Road to Semi-Ever After by Heather Harpham

I considered being a single mother once and wanted to be responsible for loving a new life. Heather described that beautifully in this memoir. But something unexpected happened. I can’t imagine how terrifying it would be to give birth to a baby girl and immediately go to the emergency room. Reading about a sick baby is heartbreaking. Then there was the father who did not want to be a father. Aside from the challenges that life throws at us, this is a memoir about love. Heather’s love for her daughter. Love between a mother and a father. And the father’s love for his daughter. I felt love!

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Have you read these? What do you think? Do you have another favorite memoir that you would recommend? Leave me a comment!

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