Memoir Writing Month
The dragons, the giant, the women : a memoir
Summary:"When Wayétu Moore turns five years old, her father and grandmother throw her a big birthday party at their home in Monrovia, Liberia, but all she can think about is how much she misses her mother, who is working and studying in faraway New York. Before she gets the reunion her father promised her, war breaks out in Liberia. The family is forced to flee their home on foot, walking and hiding for three weeks until they arrive in the village of Lai. Finally, a rebel soldier smuggles them across the border to Sierra Leone, reuniting the family and setting them off on yet another journey, this time to the United States." –Publisher’s description.
Memorial Drive : a daughter’s memoir
Summary:"At age nineteen, Natasha Trethewey had her world turned upside down when her former stepfather shot and killed her mother. Grieving and still new to adulthood, she confronted the twin pulls of life and death in the aftermath of unimaginable trauma and now explores the way this experience lastingly shaped the artist she became. With penetrating insight and a searing voice that moves from the wrenching to the elegiac, Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Natasha Trethewey explores this profound experience of pain, loss, and grief as an entry point into understanding the tragic course of her mother’s life and the way her own life has been shaped by a legacy of fierce love and resilience. Moving through her mother’s history in the deeply segregated South and through her own girlhood as a "child of miscegenation" in Mississippi, Trethewey plumbs her sense of dislocation and displacement in the lead-up to the harrowing crime that took place on Memorial Drive in Atlanta in 1985."–Amazon.
Unbowed : a memoir
Summary:"Maathai, the winner of the 2004 Nobel Peace Prize and a single mother of three, recounts her life as a political activist, feminist, and environmentalist in Kenya. Born in a rural village in 1940, she was already an iconoclast as a child, determined to get an education even though most girls were uneducated. We see her become the first woman both in East and Central Africa to earn a PhD and to head a university department in Kenya. We witness her numerous run-ins with the brutal Moi government; the establishment, in 1977, of the Green Belt Movement, which spread from Kenya across Africa and which helps restore indigenous forests while assisting rural women by paying them to plant trees in their villages; and how her courage and determination helped transform Kenya’s government into the democracy in which she now serves.–From publisher description."
This is what America looks like : my journey from refugee to Congresswoman
Summary:"An intimate and rousing memoir by progressive trailblazer Ilhan Omar-the first African refugee, the first Somali-American, and one of the first Muslim women, elected to Congress. Ilhan Omar was only eight years old when war broke out in Somalia. The youngest of seven children, her mother had died while Ilhan was still a little girl. She was being raised by her father and grandfather when armed gunmen attacked their compound and the family decided to flee Mogadishu. They ended up in a refugee camp in Kenya, where Ilhan says she came to understand the deep meaning of hunger and death. Four years later, after a painstaking vetting process, her family achieved refugee status and arrived in Arlington, Virginia. Aged twelve, penniless, speaking only Somali and having missed out on years of schooling, Ilhan rolled up her sleeves, determined to find her American dream."
Men we reaped : a memoir
Summary:In five years, Jesmyn Ward lost five young men in her life–to drugs, accidents, suicide, and the bad luck that can follow people who live in poverty, particularly black men. Dealing with these losses, one after another, made Jesmyn ask the question: Why? And as she began to write about the experience of living through all the dying, she realized the truth–and it took her breath away. Her brother and her friends all died because of who they were and where they were from, because they lived with a history of racism and economic struggle that fostered drug addiction and the dissolution of family and relationships. Jesmyn grew up in poverty in rural Mississippi. She writes powerfully about the pressures this brings, on the men who can do no right and the women who stand in for family in a society where the men are often absent. She bravely tells her story, revisiting the agonizing losses of her only brother and her friends.
Hunger : a memoir of (my) body
Summary:"Gay has written … about food and bodies, using her own emotional and psychological struggles as a means of exploring our shared anxieties over pleasure, consumption, appearance, and health. As a woman who describes her own body as ‘wildly undisciplined,’ Roxane understands the tension between desire and denial, between self-comfort and self-care."
Once I was you : a memoir of love and hate in a torn America
Summary:"Emmy Award-winning NPR journalist Maria Hinojosa shares her personal story interwoven with American immigration policy’s coming-of-age journey at a time when our country’s branding went from "The Land of the Free" to "the land of invasion.""
The beauty in breaking : a memoir
Summary:"A series of connected personal stories drawn from the author’s life and work as an ER doctor that explores how we are all broken–physically, emotionally, and psychically–and what we can do to heal ourselves as we try to heal others."
More myself : a journey
Summary:"An intimate, revealing look at one artist’s journey from self-censorship to full expression As one of the most celebrated musicians of our time, Alicia Keys has enraptured the nation with her heartfelt lyrics, extraordinary vocal range, and soul-stirring piano compositions. Yet away from the spotlight, Alicia has grappled with private heartache-over the challenging and complex relationship with her father, the people-pleasing nature that characterized her early career, the loss of privacy surrounding her romantic relationships, and the oppressive expectations of female perfection. Since her rise to fame, Alicia’s public persona has belied a deep personal truth: she has spent years not fully recognizing or honoring her own worth. After withholding parts of herself for so long, she is at last exploring the questions that live at the heart of her story: Who am I, really? And once I discover that truth, how can I become brave enough to embrace it? More Myself is part autobiography, part narrative documentary. Alicia’s journey is revealed not only through her own candid recounting, but also through vivid recollections from those who have walked alongside her."
The girl who smiled beads : a story of war and what comes after
Summary:"Clemantine Wamariya was six years old when her mother and father began to speak in whispers, when neighbors began to disappear, and when she heard the loud, ugly sounds her brother said were thunder. It was 1994, and in 100 days more than 800,000 people would be murdered in Rwanda and millions more displaced. Clemantine and her fifteen-year-old sister, Claire, ran and spent the next six years wandering through seven African countries searching for safety. They did not know whether their parents were alive. At age twelve, Clemantine and Claire were granted asylum in the United States. Raw, urgent, yet disarmingly beautiful, this book captures the true costs and aftershocks of war: what is forever lost, what can be repaired, the fragility and importance of memory. A riveting story of dislocation, survival."
The yellow house
Summary:The Yellow House expands the map of New Orleans to include the stories of its lesser known natives, guided deftly by one of its native daughters, to demonstrate how enduring drives of clan, pride, and familial love resist and defy erasure. Located in the gap between the “Big Easy” of tourist guides and the New Orleans in which Broom was raised, The Yellow House is a brilliant memoir of place, class, race, the seeping rot of inequality, and the internalized shame that often follows. It is a transformative, deeply moving story from an unparalleled new voice of startling clarity, authority, and power.
Summary:The Olympic gold medalist and two-time Women’s World Cup champion describes her childhood in a conservative California town, her athletic achievements, and her public advocacy of civil rights and urgently needed social change.