Memoirs are like the basic white tee shirt of books; they’re super underrated, the best ones can totally change your life, and your favorites can say a lot about you as a person. Cheesy simile aside, I love a good memoir. Unlike a typical biography or a novel, a memoir gives you so much insight on a person, in the same way an author would describe a character, except this is a real person! Memoirs can get so personal and raw, and a good one tells the story of the person who’s writing it. They also tend to have a very human component to them; they can feel relatable, and it’s easy to identify with someone who’s spilling their guts about how much they love their children or stories of their childhood.
While you’re reading about how someone else has found themselves or how they’ve developed into the person they are today, a memoir can ultimately show you various aspects of yourself and showcase how you have developed and changed throughout the years. Finding the best memoirs that are actually worth the read can be challenging, so here are our favorites:
Patti Smith discusses what it was like being a starving artist in New York City in her twenties and how her relationships are shaped by this. The writing style is very artistic and can read a little melancholy at times, but it’ll make you want to book a trip to NYC ASAP.
This is a VERY popular memoir but for all the best reasons. Jeannette Walls tells the story of her troubled childhood and her relationship with her parents. This is an inspiring story of resilience and loyalty, and if you’re into thrilling or suspenseful novels, this is a memoir to check out.
For those who want a lighter read, Jessi Klein tells a collection of her own stories that all discuss her experiences growing into her womanhood. Her writing is both funny and real, meaning you’re sure to enjoy this one.
Perfect for any aspiring writer out there, Stephen King explains his writing style and how his experiences have shaped his writing. This memoir includes both personal stories and almost a how-to guide for writers looking to improve.
I’ll follow almost anything Oprah says, so this was an obvious read for me. However, I was taken aback by how insightful and candid this book would be. Oprah speaks from a place of experience that isn’t patronizing. This read is sure to leave you inspired and excited.
Love and loss are very common themes for memoirs, but Ariel Levy’s delves so much deeper into it. It’s truly a story of losing everything, but still going on, and sometimes that is just what you need to hear.
The raw emotion of this one is absolutely gripping and leaves you wanting more. Tyler Wetherall finds out the truth of her family’s history and her upbringing, sorts through it all in the pages of this book and comes to terms with it all.
I read this right after I finished the first season of “Insecure” because I needed more Issa Rae in my life. There wasn’t a single part of this I found boring; it was funny, engaging, and a super easy read.