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message 1: by Jen (new)

Jen (missonethousandspringblossoms) | 60 comments I've got a friend who wants to write a memoir and she has asked me for reading recommendations so that she can see what she likes and how to approach writing her own story. The problem is she has pretty specific recommendation parameters, mostly because she wants to explore books about the same kind of story as her own. So far I've recommended The Glass Castle because of the powerful and beautiful story and Lost Edens, which I haven't read but looks like it mirrors her own story a bit.

What she is looking for:

1. More memoir than autobiography
2. Emotional abuse in marriage of well known couple
4. Strong female voice/pov

What she is not looking for:

1. tabloid style tell-all

Books we have talked about together before in conjunction with her writing her story that she responded to: The Color Purple
The Poisonwood Bible
Not Without My Daughter
Mommie Dearest
Dream Catcher: A Memoir

My friend works as a therapist, so books more relating to telling a story in order to understand it or raise bigger questions she'd probably be fond of.

message 2: by Meredith (new)

Meredith Holley (meredithholley) | 194 comments The Glass Castle is my favorite, and I really, really love memoirs. Two of my favorites are What Falls Away, which is Mia Farrow's autobiography, and This Boy's Life. I also have a shelf for it, and I love love love a lot of them on the shelf:

message 3: by Jen (new)

Jen (missonethousandspringblossoms) | 60 comments Yay! Thank you for this. I will look through them for her.

message 4: by Meredith (new)

Meredith Holley (meredithholley) | 194 comments Reading through it, I noticed to others that I think are some of the best from the group: Infidel and Virginia Woolf's Writer's Diary.

message 5: by Jen (new)

Jen (missonethousandspringblossoms) | 60 comments Infidel sounds like something she would absolutely love and not just because of her writing goal. I know she has read more Woolf than I have because I mentioned the one I was working through and she'd already read it and another one, but I don't think it was Woolf's Writer's Diary, so these are great. She talks a lot about The Artist's Way too.

message 6: by Jen (new)

Jen (missonethousandspringblossoms) | 60 comments Okay, I sent her an email with What Falls Away, Infidel, and Woolf's Writer's Diary. I didn't send her This Boy's Life, only because I don't think she'll connect with it at this point.

I also sent her:

The Year of Magical Thinking

My Life So Far

and Do They Hear You When You Cry

I think comparing and contrasting these will give her an idea of what she wants to do and how to do it. If anyone else has any remaining recommendations, feel free to send them this way and I will see what she goes with (she's ordering books and beginning them now) and then recommend more from there.

message 7: by Jen (new)

Jen (missonethousandspringblossoms) | 60 comments Oh, and Sparrow:

I looked through your shelf and found West with the Night and Three by Annie Dillard: The Writing Life, An American Childhood, Pilgrim at Tinker Creek that I will hold onto for her. The Dillard one should have been a no-brainer for me and I'm sorry to have missed recommending it. It has the right amount of lyrical rumination but I can't seem to remember if it has any marital dread like her novel Maytrees does. Anyhow, I'm also going to throw a Lamott on the pile, as her voice is very accessible and different than Dillard's and she kind of flings topics out there and then punches at them a bit.

message 8: by Meredith (new)

Meredith Holley (meredithholley) | 194 comments Yeah, those all sound great. For whatever reason, the Dillard wasn't my favorite, but I think it was just the place I was in in life. West with the Night is great. It reminded me a lot of Half Broke Horses, though I like Half Broke Horses better, but West with the Night seemed like some kind of ancestor to it.

But, This Boy's Life is gooooood, though! (sing song voice). Another one of his, Old School is really wonderful in a memoir way, too. But, it is a little sillier and more literary themed. All of his are funny and sad, though, I think.

message 9: by Tuck (new)

Tuck | 184 comments Jen wrote: "I've got a friend who wants to write a memoir and she has asked me for reading recommendations so that she can see what she likes and how to approach writing her own story. The problem is she has ..."
this janice galloway memoir is fantastic and follows your requirements

This Is Not About Me

message 10: by Jen (new)

Jen (missonethousandspringblossoms) | 60 comments Thank you! I'm adding it to the list now. And I'm also adding Galloway to my own personal (and never ending) to-read list. The Trick is to Keep Breathing looks really interesting...

message 11: by Jasmine (new)

Jasmine | 455 comments Listening Is an Act of Love: A Celebration of American Life from the StoryCorps Project

it's a lot of short stuff but it's what they use in "oral history" classes.

message 12: by Jen (new)

Jen (missonethousandspringblossoms) | 60 comments I will pass it on. Thank you Jasmine.

message 13: by Michelle (new)

Michelle (mdespres) The Art of Memoir Loved this

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