This next compilation of favourite memoirs is a combination of all things I am fascinated by. First off, as an avid reader and people-watcher, nothing grabs my attention more than a great memoir full of grit, fear, redemption, courage and eventual empowerment. This list is quite eclectic as you will soon see but for that, I am most proud. They are all subjects I have either once been or continue to be confounded and captivated by.
#5. Night by Elie Wiesel
An unforgettable and mesmerizing memoir written from the perspective of a young Wiesel during the holocaust. This book truly defined what it meant to face harrowing horrors by the hands of your own community and what survival and true courage looks like on the other side.
#4. Elvis & Me by Priscilla Presley
We are all fascinated by rock stars no matter who we are or where we come from. Whether we love their music, their dreamy voices, their banging bodies, their good looks or we want to emulate them. Either way, we can never get enough of them- do they eat what normal people eat, do they shop where we shop, what do they talk to their friends about and what is it like to be around them? And who better to tell such an intimate tale about Elvis than Priscilla Presley- the one person who met Elvis at his best and was apart of his world at the peak of his career. This book feeds on these fascinations and invites you into a world full of sex, drugs and rock and roll as they say. And what’s more, you read about an ordinary girl’s whirlwind romance with Elvis and what it took to walk away from the love of her life, also known to the rest of the world as the King of Rock and Roll.
#3. Shattered Dreams: My Life as a Polygamist’s Wife by Irene Spencer
Polygamy- yes, I know. Every time someone finds me reading a book about polygamy the same ignorant comments are bound to follow: “do you… say um, believe in polygamy?” And the answer is always an obvious no. You can be so entirely fascinated in any subject but don’t have to necessarily believe in it. I read a lot of books about the holocaust but that doesn’t mean I thought any way of it other than it was a devastating tragedy and an indelible mark on our human history that we can never erase, discard or forget. My fascination with polygamy is far beyond the scandalous plural marriages and sister wives but actually the human condition and what the irreparable combination of religion, isolation and the lack of socialization will do to shape a young person’s mind or even a small community’s visions of how the world should be. It is a sacrificial world that I will never understand and that, in itself, is truly spellbinding.
#2. Kris Jenner… And All Things Kardashian by Kris Jenner
Before anyone judges the title of this book, let us all remember the old adage “never judge a book by its cover”. And if you succeed, you will find a gem in this book. However, it isn’t the Kardashians of this book that fascinate me but it is the reason why they became publicly known that has always intrigued me and that is through Robert Kardashian, a strong player in the OJ Simpson camp during the most controversial and monumental murder trial of our time. This book tells it like it is and gives readers an inside look at what the spectators were always attempting to grasp at. It is truly an insatiable and gripping read and I remember not being able to put it down for an entire weekend no matter what was happening or who was talking to me. A memorable excerpt from the book:
As the chase continued, the Bronco never going more than sixty miles an hour, the police blocked freeway entrances so traffic wouldn’t interfere with their operation. People gathered on overpasses, actually cheering on OJ and AC in what Newsweek later described as “equal parts police chase, VIP motorcade and demented victory lap”. –Kris Jenner
#1. The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls
I cannot say enough about this book. In fact, I went three years not being able to say enough about this book so instead, I gifted it to every person from those who were barely literate to those who were voracious readers like myself. This book resonated with me more than any book I have ever read because its message at the core represented bravery and heroism in the modern sense and was reflected in the soul of any ordinary person, including myself. Jeannette Walls was a survivor of many sorts: she survived her childhood with careless and fleeting parents by pushing herself to overcome barriers to success and she survived the ordeal of letting go of the heavy burden and the shame of where she came from- ready for others to tear her down and judge her for what she felt was not a life she ever wanted or asked for. This book is for anyone who wants to rebound from their childhood whether it was an extraordinary one or one that is better left forgotten.
Disagree? What are your top 5’s?