• Hannah Cartwright

Five Memoirs You Need To Read

Recently I’ve found that I’ve really enjoyed reading memoirs. I love getting a glimpse into someone else’s mind, seeing how they’ve lived a completely different life to me and the lessons they’ve learnt and can pass on. I thought I would share my top five with you!

1. Becoming by Michelle Obama.

In this memoir, Michelle takes us through her life, from learning to play the piano as a child to the moment she stepped down as First Lady of the United States. It's an incredible read and possibly one of my favourite books ever. Michelle is such an inspiring woman and I found it so interesting reading about every aspect of her life; her childhood, her education and career, her family, the role she played in the campaign for Obama's presidency and the role she played as First Lady, working hard to fight for what she believes to be right. This is such an empowering read and I recommend it to anyone and everyone.

I’ve written a full review which you can read here.

2. Wild by Cheryl Strayed

After the death of her mother, the breakdown of her marriage and a period of drug addiction, Cheryl Strayed made the impulsive decision to hike the gruelling 2650 miles of the Pacific Crest Trail, alone, determined to turn her life around. She tells her story through the people she meets, flashbacks to her past and the painful memories that led her to the trail she's now on. Her perseverance to push on and complete the hike, despite many setbacks (even losing her shoe!) is admirable and courageous. I would love to do something like this one day and reading this made me feel like anything is possible!

3. Everything I Know About Love by Dolly Alderton

I cannot recommend this book enough to every women everywhere, particularly those in their twenties. Whether you’re single or in a committed relationship, you need to read this book. Dolly takes us through her many experiences of love, relationships and dating stories, often with humorous outcomes. It's hilarious. It's heartwarming. And it's tearjerking. I think it's a book any woman can relate to. Be it the terrible dates, the strong friendships, feeling lost, or getting too drunk and doing something stupid (like spending hundreds of pounds on a taxi to travel halfway up the M1 in the middle of the night) - we've all been there!

4. Educated by Tara Westover

As I said, I love reading about those whose lives are so different from my own. And this one is miles from what I know. Tara grew up in Idaho where her parents were preparing for the End of Days. She didn’t step foot into a classroom until she was seventeen years old, first learning about the Holocaust in a University seminar room. But that didn't stop her going on to earn her PhD in History from Cambridge University. This memoir reads like a novel in places and I was constantly stopping to remind myself that what I was reading actually happened and that the narrator survived. Tara has overcome and accomplished so much, not only escaping from an unhealthy familial relationship, but building an outstanding education and career for herself. It's an inspiring read.

I’ve written a full review of Educated, which you can read here.

5. My Name is Why by Lemn Sissay

At the age of seventeen, Norman Greenwood discovered that his real name is Lemn Sissay. After years of feeling unwanted, facing rejection from a foster family, and struggling through numerous care homes, Lemn discovers he has a mother who has wanted him and fought for him all his life. Alongside notes from his social workers, Lemn tells the story of a lost childhood, being passed from care home to care home, each one less loving and caring than the one before. It highlights the failures of the social care system from the second they placed a Black child into the care of an all white family, to the outright horrific abuse inside the care homes he was placed when that family no longer wanted him. This is an incredibly emotional read but one that I feel is really important.

Have you read any of these? Let me know what you thought of them!

Have you got any more memoir recommendations for me? Let me know in the comments below!

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