We love how memoirs capture pivotal moments of hardship and hope in an author’s life. The courage to write it all down is inspiring — and the challenges each author faces help guide us on our own journeys through life. Here are eight new must-read memoirs we can’t wait to crack open this season.
8 New Memoirs We Can’t Wait to Read This Spring
Spring is the season of fresh beginnings, and these powerful new memoirs belong at the top of your TBR list.
Finding Freedom: A Cook’s Story Remaking Life from Scratch
By Erin French
On the surface, French’s life as owner and chef of The Lost Kitchen, an intimate and wildly popular restaurant in Freedom, Maine, looks like a fairy tale. The road to success, however, was far from smooth. French faced a toxic marriage, struggles with anxiety and addiction, the challenges of single motherhood, and countless moments where giving up seemed the only option. Through it all, however, French finds solace in her son, who inspires her to remember the lessons she learned as a child growing up on a 25-acre farm. In her new memoir, French chronicles how she discovered her way to freedom and found a new home in The Lost Kitchen.
By Nadia Owusu
As a child, Nadia Owusu moves frequently, thanks to her father’s job as a United Nations official. Her life is further complicated by her mother, who abandons the family when Owusu is a child but occasionally drops by for unexpected visits. When she is 13, Owusu’s father dies, prompting her stepmother to reveal startling family secrets. Nadia struggles with depression as a young woman in New York, and she wonders whether her deceased father’s secrets are even true as she works to hold together what remains of her family.
By Anna Weiner
A lot has been written about the freewheeling work culture of Silicon Valley, but Anna Weiner’s memoir takes readers deep into the workings of one particular startup and its dizzying rush to success. Weiner arrives in San Francisco in her 20s, full of ambition and ready to take risks. She quickly lands a job at a big-data startup. It isn’t long, however, before Weiner realizes that the work culture at her company — and most companies in Silicon Valley — are spinning out of control, threatening to crash into entire economic and political systems. What’s even worse? No one is planning what to do when that collision occurs. Weiner’s new memoir, now available in paperback, is an unflinching, eye-opening account of our current digital age.
Everything Is Fine
By Vince Granata
Vince Granata has endured the unthinkable: His younger brother, who suffers from untreated schizophrenia, murders their mother. Devastated, Granata struggles to make sense of the huge loss. In trying to understand, he researches the disease that has devastated his family and is forced to take another look at the childhood he once considered quite happy. In the end, the question of whether Granata can still love his brother — and how to love him — is answered, just as his mother’s murder trial begins.
Buses Are a Comin’: Memoir of a Freedom Rider
By Charles Pearson
Imagine being 18 years old and stepping onto a bus knowing you’ll be driven into certain danger. This is Charles Pearson’s story, the youngest of the Freedom Riders. In 1961, he joins a group of civil rights movement leaders (which includes a young John Lewis) and travels south. Their task is clear: They will test whether the Southern states are obeying the Supreme Court’s ruling that segregation is unconstitutional. The Freedom Riders visit restaurants, bus stations, and restrooms at great risk to their lives before concluding that the Southern states aren’t just ignoring the law, they’re openly and violently defying it. Let Pearson’s incredible bravery and his eyewitness-to-history account of the work done in the name of equality be a lesson to us all.
Whistleblower: My Unlikely Journey to Silicon Valley and Speaking Out Against Injustice
By Susan Fowler
At 25 years old, Susan Fowler doesn’t expect to become the focus of the #MeToo movement. But when she writes a single post about sexual harassment at Uber, her story upends the industry and changes lives — including the life of Uber’s CEO, who is invited to leave. What Fowler does expect, at the very least, is to be treated with dignity on the job. When she realizes that her mistreatment isn’t isolated to one bad co-worker but is baked into Uber’s corporate culture, she knows she has to speak up, consequences be damned. Fowler’s harrowing account, newly available in paperback, is a reminder of the power of simply telling the truth.
The Good Hand: A Memoir of Work, Brotherhood, and Transformation in an American Boomtown
By Michael Patrick F. Smith
Whoever quipped, “Find something you love to do, and you’ll never work a day in your life” never met Michael Patrick F. Smith or the people who break their backs in the oil fields of North Dakota. Smith arrives in Williston, a fracking boomtown. Homeless and desperate for work, he soon lands a job on an oil patch. When grueling 14-hour workdays push him to his limits both physically and psychologically, Smith has time to process how failed relationships and a painful childhood brought him to this point. He’s not alone, though: The fields are full of men just like him. Over time, Smith finds brotherhood with these hardworking men, discovering a community that allows him to become whole.
Just as I Am
By Cicely Tyson
For seven decades, Cicely Tyson lived in the spotlight as a celebrated actor of stage and screen. Her new memoir, Just as I Am, was published the same month as her death at age 96. While it’s tempting to think you know how another celebrity autobiography will read, this one will surprise and delight. We see Tyson fight for equality in Hollywood, calling out abusers long before #MeToo entered the mainstream. She’s candid about her first failed marriage and her storied marriage to Miles Davis. We hear her discuss her craft from an actor’s point of view and her appreciation of her audience. Then there’s her inner life – the family she cherished and her deep religious faith. Hers was an artist’s journey, and her memoir is a generous invitation to join the ride.