For those who are looking for a break from fiction, there’s nothing like reading a memoir, which is comprised of a fascinating life captured impeccably on paper. Whether it be a life-changing journey, heartache or the childhood they could never forget, a selection of these author’s autobiographical tales have gone down as some of the best in history and firmly deserve a place on your bookshelf. Prepare to be moved, inspired and empowered by the below stories and ensure that they all get a read at least once:
All Creatures Great and Small by James Herriot
Having a bad day, a rough week or do you simply need cheering up? We dare you to read All Creatures Great and Small or any of Herriot’s celebrated memoirs and not crack a smile. These charming stories of a country animal doctor are truly a delight and the stuff of which dream holiday reads are made of. Read it and prepare to feel uplifted.
Sex Object: A Memoir by Jessica Valenti
Jessica Valenti, a US blogger, and writer is easily one of the most recognisable feminists of her generation, and her memoir, Sex Objects, is a funny, sometimes heartbreaking look at her life and her daily experiences with sexism and misogyny. It’s out next week (June 7th) and one to pack in your holiday suitcase. Lena Dunham fans will love it.
The Diary Of A Young Girl by Anne Frank
This iconic story is over 60 years old and hasn’t lost any of its power; it’s as moving today as when it was first published decades ago. Anne Frank’s story is by now so well known, yet the details still astound; the fear and the claustrophobia in the secret Annex, different shades of human behaviour and endurance all captured so eloquently by a girl who was just 15 at the time of her death in Bergen-Belsen. Her family life quickly became a nightmare as she and her loved ones endured the hellish circumstances of deportation and it’s impossible for her words to have anything but a profound effect on the reader; it’s beautiful, heartbreaking and should be overlooked by no one.
Wild by Cheryl Strayed
Novelist and hiker extraordinaire Cheryl Strayed embarked on an amazing 1,100-mile hike on the Pacific Crest Trail in the United Sates in 1995 as a journey of self-discovery following her mother’s death, and this had a profound effect on her life. Her experience formed the basis of a best-selling novel and film Wild, starring Reese Witherspoon. While the film was a good effort, it doesn’t compare to Strayed’s writing which is raw, brilliant and emotive. She’s at a crossroads; distraught and looking to start again as she begins her redemptive trek and by the end of it all, her life outlook has completely changed. It’s a gorgeous, riveting, and open-hearted read. Start with this and you’ll want to devour everything Strayed has ever written, but follow with Tiny Little Things before all else.
Angela’s Ashes by Frank McCourt
Cheery it’s not, but what it is, is an Irish classic. McCourt’s memoir is renowned for its raw depiction of his impoverished childhood and early adulthood in Brooklyn, New York, and Ireland. It deservadly won the Pulitzer Prize in 1996. Brace yourself for serious heartache as his life in Limerick in the 1930s and 40s is described with realism and grittiness. Despite the hardship of his life, many passages are told with heartfelt humour and charm. This is a must-read memoir.
My Life On The Road by Gloria Steinem
The feminist icon delves deep into her upbringing and chronicles her early days of fighting for women’s rights around the world; it’s a brilliant read.
The Girl With The Lower Back Tattoo by Amy Schumer
Amy Schumer’s highly anticipated memoir, The Girl with the Lower Back Tattoo is on many must-read lists of the summer. The award-winning comedian, actress, and writer dives into her past to reveal the stories and experiences that transformed her into the hilariously brilliant women we know today. We know it’s going to be all sorts of fabulous. It’s available to buy on August 25th.
Has any of your favourite memoirs been left off our list?