Last year, I was challenged to read 14 books by women in the year 2014. Everyone knows that this is not a big problem for me -- I am more of a reader than a writer and probably read close to 200 books a year. The following is a list of best memoirs by women I have read this past year. All these memoirs were published in either 2013 or 2014.
Mermaid: A Memoir of Resilience by Eileen Cronin
She is three years old when Eileen Cronin discovers that she is not like other children. Born without legs, Cronin has to learn to navigate the world both physically and emotionally all the while challenging the family secrets about her disability.
The Boy Who Loved Tornadoes by Randi Davenport
Davenport’s story tells of her tumultuous journey through the healthcare system to find treatment for her autistic son. Readers will be a bit disheartened to learn how far we, as a country, need to go in the treatment of the mentally ill, yet these same readers will leave the book with admiration for Davenport’s resilience and hope.
Wave by Sonali Deraniyagala
On the morning of December 26, 2004, Deraniyagala lost her parents, her husband, and her two young sons in the tsuami that killed over. She survived. Her memoir chronicles the years of grief and despair and turmoil that follows her after this tragic event.
Bad Feminist by Roxane Gay
Yes, I realize that Roxane Gay’s essay collection is not a pure memoir, per se, yet, this work, which encompasses words about politics, pop culture, academia, and feminism, includes enough of Gay’s life, I feel that I can glimpse much of her personal background. Plus, many of her works are hysterical.
Prairie Silence by Melanie Hoffert
Part coming-of-age story and part coming-out story, Hoffert journeys back home to North Dakota where she explores both the past and the present in order to reconcile sexuality, religion, love and family. See my full review here.
Clear Skies, Deep Water by Beth Peyton
This blurb may be a bit biased as I know both Beth and the place she writes about in her first book, Clear Skies, Deep Water, which is about living on the shores of Chautauqua Lake. Full of lyrical language, Peyton captures the landscape of rural Western New York while delivering personal stories full of hope and happiness without falling into sentimetality too often seen in books that strive to depict the rural life.
Perfectly Miserable by Sarah Payne Stuart
Perfectly Miserable follows the author's move back to Concord, Massachusetts, her childhood home. Intertwining her personal history along with the family histories of such literary figures as the Alcotts, the Emersons, and the Hawthornes, Stuart explores New England's relationships with money, religion, identity, and mental illness.
Quench Your Thirst with Water by Nicole Walker
Nicole Walker’s Quench Your Thirst With Salt is a collection of lyrical essays that explore her life growing up in the state of Utah. Read my full review here.
I am a poet and professor from rural Pennsylvania. This page is dedicated to my publishing news and events; for book reviews published online go to the Reviews tab above. For my own personal reviews, explore the Book Picks tab.