Memoirs to Read this Summer

Memoirs do not get the attention they deserve. Many readers, including teenagers, think they will be dry accounts of a person’s life. (They’re actually thinking of biographies…) 

A good memoir is a story that endears the narrator to the reader and makes the reader root for them. A good memoir can be just as captivating (and full of drama) as a fictional story, it just happens to be true! 

Memoirs I’ve Read

Below is a list of memoirs I’ve read that have been so encapsulated with that I’ve devoured them, they’re that good! 

Bossy Pants by Tina Fey

In Bossy Pants, SNL writer and actress Tina Fey takes readers through the major events that impacted her as a child and eventually shaped the writer and actress she is today. Fey’s memoir is true to her voice. When reading it, it’s nearly impossible not to read it in her voice and see her facial expressions. If you’re crunched for time and headed out on a road trip in the near future, get the audiobook version and you can actually hear her narrate her own memoir! 

The Other Wes Moore by Wes Moore

The Other Wes Moore is the story of two men with the same name, who both grew up fatherless in the same neighborhood within a year of each other. But one Wes Moore ends up serving a life sentence for murder and the other goes on to be a Rhodes Scholar, military veteran, and While House fellow. Wes Moore tells the story of both men and how two boys from similar backgrounds and upbringing navigate the world. 

Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? Mindy Kaling

Mindy Kaling, actress and writer from The Office offers hilarious insight into what it’s like to be Mindy Kaling. Full of fun advice, what not to dos, and just funny stories of an awkward kid and adult. I promise this book will make you laugh! 

Becoming by Michelle Obama

In my opinion, Michelle Obama is the quintessence of grace and class. In Becoming, she tells the story of her childhood in Chicago and is open and honest about her feelings of her husband becoming the first African American President. If you weren’t endeared to her before, you definitely will be after reading this memoir! 

A Promised Land by Barack Obama

If you read Becoming, you’ll need to read A Promised Land, too! It’s truly fascinating to read how Michelle Obama grew up and her perspective of meeting her husband and standing by his side as he ran for president and made an impact of her own as first lady. It’s equally fascinating to read how Barack Obama grew up, met Michelle, and took on the enormous task of running and becoming President of the United States. 

The Glass Castle by Jeanette Walls

Families come in all different shapes, sizes, and varying levels of dysfunction. This is why I like to recommend Jeannette Walls’ The Glass Castle to both friends and my own students. Walls chronicles what it’s like growing up with a mentally ill and enabling mother and an alcoholic father in poverty. In her memoir, she is able to convey both the horrors of her childhood and also how conflicting it can be to love your family but also need to get far away from them in order to survive. This is a book you won’t be able to put down!  

Memoirs I’m Planning to Read

Whether it’s in our heads or written down somewhere, we all have that list of books we’re planning to read. The list grows and grows. Books get added faster than we can read them, but that’s okay. We still like to hope and keep adding. Below are several memoirs that are on my “Plan to Read” list! 

  • Educated by Tara Westover I’m an educator, after all, and I love reading how people experience being a student. 
  • Born a Crime by Trevor Noah I love watching his The Daily Show episodes!
  • Talking as Fast as I Can by Lauren Graham Because I’m obsessed with Gilmore Girls!

  • Tell me, what memoirs are on your “Planning to Read” list? 

    Leave a comment

    Please note, comments must be approved before they are published