A memoir is perhaps the easiest (and greatest) medium for an individual to set forth their life in black and white and let the world go through it. Though countless authors have done it till date, there are only a few whose masterworks never went unnoticed. Listed below are 8 memoirs that blow readers’ minds!
8. Darkness visible (1990): Author: William Styron
Already labeled as one of the best memoir topics to write on, Darkness Visible is Styron’s life journey focusing mainly on his grave depression in life and a marvelous recovery later on. The story begins with the author flying to Paris in 1985 and how his mental health deteriorates during the trip. Styron attributes his depression very much to excessive use of alcohol and makes the story an extensive study on despair, its causes and effects.
7. And All is Said (2012): Author: Zareer Masani
“And all is said: Memoir of a Home Divided” is a compelling and riveting narrative of the true account of two powerful personalities, their destined love, and later estrangement. Minoo Masani and Shakuntala Srivastava, parents of Zareer Masani belonged to completely different backgrounds, which gave rise to conflicts in their married life. Zareer created the story from the many diaries and letters of his parents and put forth their lives.
6. I Know Why the Bird Sings (1969): Author: Maya Angelou
The memoir is an inspiring autobiography of Maya Angelou, an African-American poet and writer. Readers see her rise bravely from a victim of racism and discrimination to a competent woman, and this is what makes the work a long-established classic. Angelou attempts to represent and speak for American black girls and successfully does it through the memoir!
5. Speak, Memory (1951): Author: Vladimir Nabokov
The memoir is a detailed account of Nabokov’s childhood and the time of his life before his family immigrated to the US in the year 1940. The book helps one clearly understand the symbols and themes that made up the author’s mind when he wrote it. As usual, Nabokov makes the most of his excellent writing abilities and devastating prose in the memoir to reach his readers. Initially Nabokov wanted to publish the book with the title ‘Speak, Mnemosyne’ but had to change his mind as his publisher feared that the public would not be interested in a book with a title so difficult to pronounce.
4. The Year of Magical Thinking (2005):
Author: Joan Didion
Joan Didion writes about the heartbreaking death of John Gregory, her husband, in her memoir that was published in the year 2005. In
The Year of Magical Thinking, the author came up with the description of the year following her husband’s death and the work was immediately highly praised as a classic book based on real-life mourning. This masterpiece of writing about a dear person’s loss won the National Book Award for Nonfiction in the year 2005.
3. The Liars’ Club (1995): Author: Mary Karr
In 1995 when the memoir was published, the public was amazed to read something that could be tragic, funny, and terrifying at the same time. Only The Liars’ Club could be the perfect medium for Marry Karr to walk all us through her unfortunate childhood. The title of the book best suits Mary’s father and his good-for-nothing fellows who would skip work at the factory and gather to drink!
2. Maus (1991): Author: Art Spiegelman
A graphic novel
by Art Spiegelman, the book demonstrates the author asking his father’s experience as a Polish Jew who had survived the holocaust. This amazing piece of work that is more of a comic work secured remarkable success because of different human races being symbolically depicted by different animals (Germans by cats, Jews by Mice etc.). The memoir won a Pulitzer Prize as the first ever graphic novel later in 1992.
1. The Diary of a Young Girl (1947): Author: Anne Frank
The Diary of a Young Girl is basically a collection of writings by Anne Frank, fully based on her real life experience. While in hiding throughout the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands with her family, Anne wrote down what she went through bit by bit in the diary gifted to her on her 13th
birthday. She died of typhus in a camp after her family was apprehended in the year 1944 and Miep Gies, the lady who hid Anne and her family gave the diary to Anne’s Father. Originally named ‘Kitty’ by Anne herself, the book was later published under the title ‘Het Achterhuis.’