Reading multiple perspectives will help you as a writer (and a human being) to understand what other people are thinking, feeling, and grappling with in life. The mistakes they’ve made. The obstacles they’ve overcome. What they’ve learned from those experiences.
Memoirs allow you to get inside the author’s head. And when you’re in her head, you can see the world through her eyes.
Scroll down, past the photo for my list of all-time favorite memoirs (with links*).
Angela’s Ashes by Frank McCourt on his childhood growing up in Ireland.
Born on a Blue Day: Inside the Extraordinary Mind of an Autistic Savant by Daniel Tammet
Breaking Clean by Judy Blunt, a third-generation homesteader describes her hardscrabble life on the prairies of eastern Montana.
Diary of a Young Naturalist by Dara McAnulty, a teenager’s perspective on friendships, family, changing schools, his strong connection to nature, and the complexities of living with autism.
Falling Through the Earth by Danielle Trussoni , an intimate look at growing up with her Vietnam veteran father.
From Baghdad, with Love: A Dog, a Marine, and the Love That Saved Them by Jay Kopelman
I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou, “captures the longing of lonely children, the brute insult of bigotry, and the wonder of words that can make the world right.”
My Bondage and My Freedom by Frederick Douglass, a former slave’s reflections written ten years after his legal emancipation in 1846.
Notes on a Nervous Planet by Matt Haig, reflections on how the “world is messing with our minds” and what he does about it.
On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft by Stephen King
The Liars Club by Mary Karr, a hilarious, moving, fast-pace story of growing up in Texas with dysfunctional parents.
The Road from Coorain by Jill Ker Conway, a coming-of-age story from the windswept, drought-haunted Australian outback to the president’s office of an American college.