I’ve been on something of a memoir kick recently. I’m usually a fiend for fiction and rarely pick up books in the nonfiction section of bookstores. But I thought I’d try something different, and I happily discovered the power of memoir in forging human connection and recounting remarkable life stories. Here are 13 of the most powerful, inspiring, and touching memoirs I’ve ever read.
What is war like through the eyes of a child soldier? How does one become a killer? How does one stop? Never before has there been a first-person account from someone who went through this hell and survived. In A LONG WAY GONE, Ishmael Beah recounts his story with heartbreaking honesty: how at the age of 12, he fled attacking rebels and wandered a land rendered unrecognizable by violence. By 13, he’d been picked up by the government army and found that he was capable of truly terrible acts. This is a rare and mesmerizing account, told with urgent importance and literary force.
As a young man, James McBride saw his mother as a source of embarrassment, worry, and confusion—and reached thirty before he began to discover the truth about her early life and long-buried pain. Here, he retraces his mother’s story and her searing, spirited voice.
Read the full review of H IS FOR HAWK.
Read the full review of THE BRIGHT HOUR.