I would argue that memoirs are the most personal genre in literature, providing unfettered access to the author's raw experience and perspective. A good biography can also serve the same function, but there will always be that loss of intimacy that occurs with an additional filter. Memoir writers bravely expose themselves for public consumption, demonstrating a vulnerability that draws in so many readers. The memoir’s focus is on seeking commonality, shared aspiration and honest self-appraisal. Here, Fate is the narrator, Free Will is the protagonist, and Circumstance can be both antagonist or helpmate.

For the month of April, I wanted to present to you some recent memoirs that might offer inspiration, insight, and fellowship. Or they may just satisfy the desire to witness victories to be celebrated or trials that act as a cautionary tale. I have also included one title below for those of you who might like to try writing your own story, to share or lock away.

The Secret to Superhuman StrengthThe Secret of Superhuman Strength (Graphic Memoir) by Alison Bechdel and Holly Rae Taylor

"From the author of Fun Home, a profoundly affecting graphic memoir of Bechdel's lifelong love affair with exercise, set against a hilarious chronicle of fitness fads in our times"--

Finding MeFinding Me: A Memoir by Viola Davis

"Finding Me is a deep reflection, a promise, and a love letter of sorts to self. My hope is that my story will inspire you to light up your own life with creative expression and rediscover who you were before the world put a label on you."

UntamedUntamed by Glennon Doyle

"In her most revealing and powerful memoir yet, the activist, speaker, and bestselling author explores the joy and peace we discover when we stop striving to meet others’ expectations and start trusting the voice deep within us."

Fly GirlFly Girl by Ann Hood

"Packed with funny, moving, and shocking stories of life as a flight attendant, Fly Girl captures the nostalgia and magic of air travel at its height, and the thrill that remains with every takeoff."

The BoysThe Boys by Ron & Clint Howard

"By turns confessional, nostalgic, heartwarming, and harrowing, The Boys is a dual narrative that lifts the lid on the Howard brothers’ closely held lives. It’s the journey of a tight four-person family unit that held fast in an unforgiving business and of two brothers who survived 'child-actor syndrome' to become fulfilled adults."

Easy BeautyEasy Beauty by Chloe Cooper Jones

"...a groundbreaking memoir about disability, motherhood, and a journey to far-flung places in search of a new way of seeing and being seen."

Dying for Attention Dying for Attention by Susan MacLeod

"...Dying for Attention is the latest memoir in the graphic medicine field... MacLeod includes helpful tips for communicating with nursing homes, as well as background research, to provide a larger context for this under-discussed experience."

South to AmericaSouth to America by Imani Perry

"An essential, surprising journey through the history, rituals, and landscapes of the American South—and a revelatory argument for why you must understand the South in order to understand America."

Smile: The Story of a FaceSmile: The Story of a Face by Sarah Ruhl

"In a series of piercing, profound, and lucid meditations, Ruhl chronicles her journey as a patient, wife, mother, and artist. She explores the struggle of a body yearning to match its inner landscape, the pain of postpartum depression, the story of a marriage, being a playwright and working mom to three small children, and the desire for a resilient spiritual life in the face of illness."

Taste: My Life Through Food by Stanley Tucci

"Stanley Tucci grew up in an Italian American family that spent every night around the kitchen table. He shared the magic of those meals with us in The Tucci Cookbook and The Tucci Table, and now he takes us beyond the savory recipes and into the compelling stories behind them.​"

Are you inspired to tell your own story? Here is title that might be helpful when crafting your own memoir:

Memory Into MemoirMemory Into Memoir by Laura Kalpakian

"Memory into Memoir provides a lively guide for anyone looking to wrestle the unruly past onto the page. The seasoned writer, the aspiring writer, and the reluctant writer looking for a knowledgeable, encouraging companion will find Memory into Memoir the go-to guide for a successful, fulfilling writing experience."

April's Featured Reviews

Hop on the Holds List

1. Candy House - Jennifer Egan

2. The Maid - Nita Prose

3. Book Lovers - Emily Henry

4. Family of Liars - E. Lockhart

5. The Measure - Nikki Erlick

Recent Readings

I have recently finished reading The Nineties by Chuck Klosterman and Devil House by John Darnielle. I had mixed feelings about the audiobook version of The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwab.

Right now, I am excited to start Alex Finlay's latest, The Night Shift. I am almost finished with the fascinating A Molecule Away from Madness: Tales of the Hijacked Brain by Sara Manning Peskin. I also have been listening to the audio version of Sorrow and Bliss by Meg Mason.

What memoirs have captivated and affected you? Do you prefer celebrity tell-alls or stories of ordinary folk? Let me know: (jnmegan@gpl.org).

Thanks for all your suggestions and feedback, I really enjoy hearing from you!

Until next time: Be safe, be well and be well-read!


So, who am I, anyway? I am a resident of West Groton, with a husband, 4 teenaged children and a Samoyed puppy-all of whom are systematically destroying our house. I am currently working part time at the Groton Public Library and in a former life I was employed as a Director or PR/Marketing at a high-tech consulting firm. My BA is in Psychology, but most of my time was spent in college earning a Concentration on the Novel. That is all to say that I make no claims at being an expert of any kind and my thoughts, opinions and mistakes are solely my own. I am just a person whose passion for books has continued to grow from the moment I was first able to grip and gnaw on them, and I have been devouring them ever since.

Apr 01, 2022 / Joelle M Egan