4 Memoir Recommendations For Any Occasion

Reading autobiographies, biographies, memoirs, and basically any other self-reflective piece is one of my favorite things to do. Many times, the events that I read on page seem too far-flung to be true. Everyone has their own story to tell, and most of the time their experiences are ones that I had never even contemplated before. One of the best things about these written pieces though, is that each author details how they personally came out of a difficult situation. It is nice to learn how others have chosen to manage stressful or challenging situations. I personally feel more emboldened to tackle my own life problems after reading about how others survived through theirs. 


Wild, by Cheryl Strayed 

Wild is a memoir detailing one woman’s solo hike through the Pacific Crest Trail. The trail itself extends over 2,500 miles from Southern California to the Washington-Canadian border. Cheryl Strayed travels through dry deserts, wet forests, and snowy inclines over a three month period, triumphing over nature’s obstacles as well as her own past.   


The Glass Castle, by Jeannette Wells 

The memoir follows Jeannette Wells’s early and late childhood life and upbringing. After she was born, her parents hastily left the hospital to avoid paying medical fees. With three siblings and two nontraditional parents, Jeannette’s childhood navigates through extreme poverty and familial loyalty, ultimately culminating with her own self-discovery and success. 


Educated, by Tara Westover    

Tara Westover was raised in an apocalyptic-religious household that deeply mistrusted the government and traditional sciences. In her memoir, she details her experiences growing up in rural Idaho, and her own academic journey that eventually takes her to Cambridge University. Possessing incredible strength and resilience, Tara not only has to navigate the real-world with little familial support, but also contend to the abuses of her own close family. 



Hillbilly Elegy, by J. D. Vance

Similar to Westover, Vance was also raised in poverty. He grew up in the “hillbilly” region of the Appalachian mountains; communities that had little economic opportunity and advancement. One key difference however, was that Vance received strong support from his grandparents, especially his grandmother. Vance perseveres through tumultuous times to eventually reach the place he is today.