Memoir is autobiography with the potential for poetic license.

My personal experience of memoir is limited; so much current memoir is churned out by political figures or those in entertainment, and I’m generally not interested in reading about either of those worlds.  I’ve read the following, and will change the format of this page as the number of titles grows:

Educated by Tara Westover -this is a page-turner. You’ve probably heard of Tara, who was raised on a remote mountain in Utah by her probably bipolar fundamentalist anti-government father.  Fascinating read.

Becoming Eve by Abby Chava Stein – click on the link to see my review of this memoir written by a Rabbi and former ultra-conservative Hasidic Jew who left family and community and is now a transgender woman.

A Million Little Pieces by James Frey – I read this book right after it was published, and in fact hosted the author and his mother at the bookstore I was managing at the time for a book signing. I was disappointed and disillusioned to learn later that part of this “memoir” was, in fact, fiction, and publisher actually recategorized it as party fictionalized. It’s the story of a man’s journey out of addiction and into recovery.

Life and Death in Shanghai  is the memoir of Nien Cheng,  the wife of a Shell Oil executive and evantually an executive in her own right, who was eventually arrested and held for many years during China’s Cultural Revolution in the 1970s.  She endured betrayal at the hands of friends and colleagues and imprisonment with great courage and strength, after which she set down an easily-understood, detailed account of her experience.

Unraveled is co-authored by Laura Cook Boldt and her son Thomas H Boldt; both addicts who are now sober, they chronicle Tom’s journey into and back out of the depths of addiction.  I’m lukewarm on this one.

Memoir - closeup of handwritten letter - words illegible - a photo of a woman on a beach, and a stack of letters tied with twine.