We often read memoirs for the exact reason we read fiction – to get inspired and to learn. The memoirs in this list are real stories of courageous, hope-filled ordinary human being who have faced the worst kind of adversities imaginable but had survived to tell their stories of victory. Read them and get inspired!
1. Searching for Mercy Street
By: Linda Gray Sexton.
Sexton book he narrates about his life is the daughter of Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Anne Sexton, a very emotional lived in unexpected circumstances and it is wise to mention a great believer ‘telling the truth about one’s life.’. At one point I Sexton tells the audience, “I can forgive your mother, so the reader can forgive his / her mother.”
2. The Liar’s Club
By: Mary Karr.
Mary Karr’s critically acclaimed memoir had held a spot on the New York Times bestsellers list for over an entire year. Its story deals with volcanic emotional state, memories of childhood abuse, facing the truth et al. The memoir also takes a deep look into the Karr’s family history and her mother’s past. It is worth noting that, the genre of memoir has been growing faster owing to the astounding success of Karr’s ‘The Liar’s Club.’
The memoir was a way of dealing with the grief of losing her husband in Afghanistan who was a pilot for the United States army. Writing helped her to heal and survive. In an interview Henderson recounts how she had thought that she can make everything right and one day her husband would walk through the door and come back to her. But when she came to terms with the reality she decided to do something good out of bad.
4. My Father’s Gardens
By: Karen Levy.
Immigrants who constantly question their loyalty can relate to this memoir. In ‘My Father’s Gardens’ Karen Levy narrates her emotional struggle on losing her real home back in Israel and trying to fit in with the new culture in a new place. The constant but difficult transitions that immigrants often face when uprooted from their own soil is the main theme of the memoir.
5. The Year of Magical Thinking
By: Joan Didion.
This is another classic memoir hailed for its deep understanding and insight of loss and grief. This memoir gives no advice, only presents the raw emotional experiences Didion had to face when her husband – John Gregory Dunne – died in a heart-attack in 2003 while their daughter was being treated for septic shock and pneumonia. Her next equally heartbreaking and gripping memoir ‘Blue Night’ deals with her emotional nightmares following the death of her daughter in 2005.
6. Losing Amma, Finding Home: A Memoir about Love, Loss and Life’s Detours
By: Uma Girish.
After her mother’s death from breast cancer, Girish he goes through the change journey in a life struggle, where alone in a foreignland. When dealing with grief and sense of isolation, they finally managed to find comfort in the doldrums. After many difficulties, Girish is in a strange land filled with foreigners, can exist anywhere that comes close to realizing the universal concept of home.
7. Second Wind: One Woman’s Midlife Quest to Run 7 Marathons on 7 Continents
By: Cami Ostman.
Unlike an athlete, Ostman ran for emotional freedom. She had previously lived a life of emotional repression and in time she began questioning her upbringing and infused values. Her plan was simple, Ostman decided to run 7 marathons in 7 different continents (including Antarctica). This memoir revel insights and the power of endurance of the human soul that she had discovered during her journey.
8. Unstill Life
By: Gabrielle Selz.
Selz is the daughter of an artist and a former curator of Modern Art in New York. She had always been fascinated by modern art and tried to carve a place for herself in that world. Growing up with her vibrant father who was as enthusiastic about women as he was about art, was quiet an emotional challenge for her. The memoir narrates her version of her emotionally transformed journey.
9. Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail
By: Cheryl Strayed.
The memoir was a smashing best seller that made the poor, debt burdened author into one of the highest paying celebrity memoir writers. Her popularity can partly be owed to her mention in Oprah’s Book Club. On the superficial level, her memoir voices her treacherous trekking journey in the Pacific Crest Trail in 1995 but also touches deeply into the power of human strength for overcoming sufferings and the ultimate pursue of empowerment. Strayed made this trek to recover following the unforeseen death of her mother. The memoir has been adapted into a film, Wild (2014) starring Reese Witherspoon.
10. The Horse Boy: A Father’s Quest to Heal His Son
By: Rupert Isaacson.
The story as a journey to Mongolia together to search for the ancient culture of evil shaman is a father and his autistic son. For their beliefs in the healing effects of mitigation horses and is hoping that he can go with the horses know how to manipulate the healing of his son. Some parts are described by the memoir that serves as a window into the mind of his son, himself an autistic boy conditioned. He also took a film crew to document his journey with them.