When I was writing my favorite memoirs post last week, it went longer than I had intended, and so became part one. Here’s part two:
The Glass Castle by Jeanette Walls
This straight-forward, tell-it-like-it-is memoir is one girl’s story of a nomadic life with an artist mother and an alcoholic father. Jeanette and her siblings were malnourished and neglected and sometimes forced to steal in order to eat. When she grew up and got away from that life, she hid who she was and where she came from, until she decided to write it all down. She isn’t bitter, and this memoir isn’t full of hatred and resentment. It’s an honest telling of one girl’s life, and is one of the best books I’ve ever read.
A Circle of Quiet: A Crosswick’s Journal by Madeleine L’Engle
As much as I enjoy L’Engle’s fiction, I love her nonfiction and poetry even more. This is the first in a series of her journals that were published, and it’s wonderful.
A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier by Ishmael Beah
I listened to this memoir on audio, read by the author. Hearing Ishmael’s story told in his own voice was incredibly powerful. His story of being a boy soldier in Sierra Leone is graphic and heart-breaking, and one that needs to be heard.
Measure of a Man: A Spiritual Autobiography by Sidney Poitier
If you are a listener of audiobooks, this is one book that should be heard. Poitier reads it in his own velvety voice, chuckling and pausing in reflection as he remembers stories of his poor childhood in the Bahamas, and his career as an actor.
The Woman Who Can’t Forget: The Extraordinary Story of Living with the Most Remarkable Memory Known to Science by Jill Price, with Bart Davis
This is the true story of a woman with an amazing condition, a condition that impacts every area of her life. I don’t know how to adequately describe Ms. Price’s condition, so I’m going to use the synopsis from Barnes & Noble: “Jill Price has the first diagnosed case of a memory condition called “hyperthymestic syndrome” — the continuous, automatic, autobiographical recall of every day of her life since she was fourteen. Give her any date from that year on, and she can almost instantly tell you what day of the week it was, what she did on that day, and any major world event or cultural happening that took place, as long as she heard about it that day. Her memories are like scenes from home movies, constantly playing in her head, backward and forward, through the years; not only does she make no effort to call her memories to mind, she cannot stop them.”