What makes for a good memoir? That depends on who you ask. We think it is a mix of those life lessons that we can’t get anywhere else and the original stories and unforgettable stories that make memoirs special and relatable.
BookTrib’s memoir writing contest ends this week and we thought it would be a good idea to share with our readers some of the memoirs we look forward to reading this year! Here’s a list of the 15 most anticipated memoir we will be adding to our bookshelves this year.
The Line Becomes a River, Francisco Cantu
Francisco Cantú recounts his life on the Mexican border. From his childhood in the Southwest to his adult career as a Border Patrol officer, Cantú’s memoir lays bare the violence that saturates both sides of the border, and Cantú’s struggles to understand his identity within the context of each.
Brotopia, Emily Chang
Sexism and sexual harassment are common realities for women in the tech industry, especially in Silicon Valley, or, as Emily Chang’s memoir dubs it, “Brotopia.” As a member of the outnumbered minority, Chang details her experiences with working in this particular professional field as well as those of Susan Fowler, Niniane Wang, and Brianna Wu (Uber engineer, entrepreneur, and game developer, respectively) to highlight the struggles that women undergo to make a name for themselves in such a male-dominated industry.
Well, That Escalated Quickly, Franchesca Ramsey
You may recognize her from her work on MTV’s Decoded, but Franchesca Ramsey revokes the screen for the page in her newest memoir. After her viral video “What White Girls Say… to Black Girls,” Ramsey recounts her struggles with her reluctance to become an activist in the midst of critics, fans, hate mail, and prejudice. Her journey to becoming an “accidental activist” highlights the role and importance of communication in the age of the internet.
Sick, Porochista Khakpour
Khakpour writes about the hardships she faced as a result of Lyme disease, a diagnosis she received later in life that explained her frequent trips to the ER and daily physical pains. Her chronic illness, along with a drug addiction and mental illness, plagued her for years. Sick explores the ramifications of these hardships and the strength Khakpour exhibited to overcome them.
When They Call You a Terrorist, Patrisse Khan-Cullors
Patrisse Khan-Cullors’s memoir dispels the myth that the Black Lives matter movement is one rooted in hate and terror. As a co-founder of the movement along with Asha Bandele, she shares her story in order to highlight the movement’s prevalent messages of love and strength. Read an exclusive interview with Kahn-Cullors by BookTrib’s own Senior Editor, Aisha K. Staggers later this week in The New York Review of Books.
I’ll Never Change My Name, Valentin Chmerkovskiy
From the famous Dancing with the Stars dancer comes an anticipated memoir on immigration, dance, and fame. Chmerkovskiy brings readers through his journey from his Ukraine childhood to the United States. As a Jewish immigrant, he struggled to adjust to American culture; however, he eventually rose to fame via his dancing talent, and “expresses his enduring gratitude for everything that America represents and pays homage to his adopted nation and the opportunities it has afforded him and his family.”
Not My White Savior, Julayne Lee
A memoir told in poems, Not My White Savior describes the lift of Julayne Lee, who was adopted from South Korea by a white Christian family in Minnesota during the Korean War. Her memoir is a provocative look at what it is to be “a trans-racial and inter-county adoptee, and what it means to grow up being constantly told how better your life is because you were rescued from your country of origin.”
This Will Be My Undoing, Morgan Jenkins
Heralded by Roxane Gay as “a writer to be reckoned with,” Morgan Jerkins delivers a powerful account on her experiences with feminism, misogyny, and racism in her latest memoir to tackle the question: “What does it mean to ‘be’– to live as, to exist as– a black woman today?” Drawing upon elements of pop culture and black history, Jerkins exposes the ways in which black female oppression is prevalent in society at large.
I Am, I Am, I Am, Maggie O’Farrell
Maggie O’Farrell discusses each of her near-death encounters, from a childhood illness to her present-day situation as protector of her daughter from “a condition that leaves [her daughter] unimaginably vulnerable to life’s myriad dangers.”
On Pills and Needles, Rick Van Warner
Described as being both a “wake-up call and crash course in opioid addiction,” On Pills and Needles is a father’s account of how opiod addiction affected his son and himself.
A Kind of Mirraculas Paradise, Sandra Allen
This memoir is not about Sandra; in fact, it centers on her uncle. In 2009, he sent her his autobiography about “being ‘labeled a psychotic paranoid schizophrenic’” with “a plea to help him get his story out to the world.” And that is exactly what Allen did. Relaying her uncle’s story of his experiences with schizophrenia and American mental healthcare, she dispels stereotypes surrounding the mental illness.
Eloquent Rage, Brittney Cooper
Brittney Cooper is angry, and rightfully so. As a black woman in America, she has experienced injustices of many dimensions, yet she also reminds her readers that that rage can be a source of power and strength. Named by Glamour and Chicago Reader as being ‘A Best/Most Anticipated Book of 2018’, Eloquent Rage promises to deliver an honest and sharp account.
We Have Not Stopped Trembling Yet, E.J.R. David
E.J.R. David is a celebrated Filipino thinker who draws attention to the types of injustices he faced as a Filipino and Alaska Native growing up in America. He attempts to uncover ways in which he can draw upon his knowledge and experiences to benefit his children and help them overcome similar hardships he faced.
Shores Beyond Shores, Irene Butter
Shores Beyond Shores details a young German-Jewish girl’s development during the Holocaust. Irene is forced to revoke her childhood to care for her parents and other children as they try and survive a death camp. Irene’s account follows her through the darkest days of the Holocaust to her experiences in its aftermath in the Algerian desert, as she learns how to live without the rest of her family.
Everything is Horrible and Wonderful, Stephanie Wittels Wachs
Everything Is Horrible and Wonderful is about a sister’s struggle to understand her younger brother’s drug addiction and comprehend his eventual death via overdose. Harris Wittels was a renown figure and work for the comedy sphere of the entertainment industry (he helped produce shows such as Parks and Rec), and Stephanie celebrates his role in her life, both from this world and beyond.
The end is near! Enter our writing contest, where you could become a BookTrib Contributor! Deadline for submissions is January 31, 2018.