It has been a while since I’ve posted reviews of memoirs I’ve read. Perhaps the most efficient way to catch up is to present them as shorter reviews. I hope the shorter format will be helpful in highlighting for you three of my favorites.
Remember, one of the best pieces of advice for those writing memoirs is to read the work of others sharing their life stories.
Sandra Miller‘s memoir, Trove: A Woman’s Search for Truth and Buried Treasure, is a National Book Award Winner. A reviewer might feel inclined to let that honor stand as its review. But you need to know that Miller’s search for buried treasure isn’t all about a large chest filled with gold.
Miller’s writing is colloquial and thus allows you to feel like you are sitting over coffee or tea chatting with a friend. As a result, Trove is hard to put down. Miller’s words are honest and heartfelt while filled with courage and authenticity. I found myself cheering her on in her search for the feeling we have all experienced at one time or another in our lives—the feeling of regret and confusion in middle age. This is one memoir that I have kept on my shelf of favorites. I highly recommend it.
Marcia Butler is the author of The Skin Above My Knee. She is also a professional oboist and has played with many world-renowned orchestras and symphonies. And yet Butler has led a life filled with stresses in her childhood home resulting from a detached mother and an abusive father. The oboe represents her lifeline to sanity as she moves through other difficult relationships and bad choices.
Through her truthful narrative, Butler shows how music can offer the benefits of healing and strengthening the human soul.
My favorite line from Butler’s memoir is: “You love to feel stable within music’s velvety language.”
An inspiring story that shouldn’t be missed.
“A touching and intimate correspondence between Cooper and his mother, Gloria Vanderbilt, offers timeless wisdom and a revealing glimpse into their lives.”
The correspondence referenced here happened as the result of a busy man and his 91-year-old mother agreeing to change their relationship by committing to a year-long conversation. This agreement came about following a brief but serious illness experienced by Vanderbilt.
One could describe their letters as a son’s love letters to his mother and a mother’s life lessons to her son. This memoir is beautiful and affectionate as well as a truthful celebration of life. A must-read!
These three memoirs have been waiting in the wings far too long. It is my pleasure to offer you good writing examples, perhaps even different formats such as that used by Cooper and Vanderbilt in sharing their story. All of these books can be found on Goodreads.
Happy reading and writing,
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