Memoir

Our extensive memoir collection spans decades and features the personal stories of award-winning authors from around the world. Read on to learn about Sarah M. Broom’s childhood in New Orleans in The Yellow House; activist Ishmael Beah’s experiences as a boy in war-torn Sierra Leone in A Long Way Gone; and clinical psychologist Kay Redfield Jamison and her experiences living with bipolar disorder.

Publication year 2012Genre Autobiography / Memoir, NonfictionThemes Identity: Race, Values/Ideas: Justice & Injustice, Values/Ideas: Safety & Danger, Relationships: FamilyTags Race / Racism

A Chance in the World: An Orphan Boy, a Mysterious Past, and How He Found a Place Called Home is a 2012 memoir by author Steve Pemberton. In three parts, it tells the story of his quest to learn the truth about his past. The book examines themes of identity, abuse, family, racism, and how peoples’ pasts can influence their futures. Part 1 begins with Steve’s recurring memory of the day that his mother abandoned... Read A Chance in the World Summary


Publication year 2018Genre Autobiography / Memoir, NonfictionThemes Society: Immigration, Relationships: Family, Life/Time: Coming of AgeTags Immigration / Refugee, Auto/Biographical Fiction, Coming of Age / Bildungsroman, Parenting, Arts / Culture

A Dream Called Home is a memoir published in 2018 by the award-winning Mexican American author, Reyna Grande. The book is the sequel to her bestselling 2012 memoir, The Distance Between Us, which addresses Reyna’s experiences crossing the US-Mexico border as a child. The title alludes to the American dream while also gesturing to varied concepts of home. This summary refers to the 2018 English-language edition published by Atria Books.Plot SummaryReyna divides her memoir into... Read A Dream Called Home Summary


Publication year 1961Genre Autobiography / Memoir, NonfictionTags Religion / Spirituality, Christian literature

Clive Staples Lewis (1888-1963) C.S. Lewis was a British writer and academic, renowned for his works on Christianity, and best remembered today as the author of the children’s book series The Chronicles of Narnia. He graduated from Oxford University and taught there until 1954 when he became Chair of Medieval and Renaissance Literature at Cambridge University. A Grief Observed was originally publishedunder the pseudonym N.W. Clerk and attributed to Lewis only after his death. A Grief... Read A Grief Observed Summary


Publication year 2021Genre Essay Collection, NonfictionThemes Identity: Race, Values/Ideas: Music, Values/Ideas: Art, Values/Ideas: Equality, Values/Ideas: Fame, Values/Ideas: Beauty, Society: NationTags Arts / Culture, History: U.S., African American Literature, Creative Nonfiction, Gender / Feminism, Music, Race / Racism, Trauma / Abuse / Violence

Publication year 1997Genre Autobiography / Memoir, NonfictionTags Sociology, Poverty

This book is a memoir written by a Pulitzer Prize winning reporter, Rick Bragg, who works for the New York Times. It describes the author’s childhood in rural Alabama,   the middle child of three brothers raised by an almost-always single mother in conditions of extreme poverty. His father was a veteran of the Korean War and an alcoholic, who abandoned his family for long periods of time.The book is dedicated “To my Momma and my brothers.” The author grows... Read All Over but the Shoutin' Summary


Publication year 1999Genre Autobiography / Memoir, NonfictionThemes Relationships: Family, Values/Ideas: Loyalty & BetrayalTags Poverty, Race / Racism

All Souls: A Family Story From Southie is a 1999 memoir by Michael MacDonald. It examines his experiences growing up in the Old Colony neighborhood of South Boston, also known as Southie. The memoir examines themes of family, racism, xenophobia, police corruption, and justice, all set against the backdrop of one family’s tragedy.When the book begins, an adult Michael is returning to Southie in order to give a tour of the neighborhood to a reporter... Read All Souls Summary


Publication year 2018Genre Autobiography / Memoir, NonfictionThemes Relationships: Family, Identity: Race, Self Discovery, Society: Immigration, Emotions/Behavior: Conflict, Relationships: Mothers, Identity: LanguageTags Parenting, Race / Racism

Publication year 1998Genre Autobiography / Memoir, NonfictionThemes Relationships: Daughters & SonsTags Coming of Age / Bildungsroman, Gender / Feminism, Immigration / Refugee, Women's Studies (Nonfiction)

Esmeralda’s family relocates from Puerto Rico to Brooklyn in 1961, when Esmeralda is 13 years old. On the cusp of womanhood, Esmeralda receives warnings from her family members, and especially her mother, Mami, to watch out for the many algos or dangers lurking in the city. Struggling to adjust to city life in Brooklyn, Esmeralda misses Puerto Rico, and she dreams of the day when she will return. Initially put into remedial classes because she... Read Almost a Woman Summary


Publication year 2007Genre Autobiography / Memoir, NonfictionThemes Society: WarTags History: African

A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Solider is a memoir published in 2007 by the Sierra Leonean author and activist Ishmael Beah. The book recounts the author’s experiences as a 12-year-old boy in war-torn Sierra Leone. Forced to serve as a child soldier for three years in the 1990s during the Sierra Leone Civil War, Beah wrote the book to highlight the horrific impact of war on children. Nominated for a 2007 Quill... Read A Long Way Gone Summary


Publication year 2013Genre Autobiography / Memoir, NonfictionThemes Values/Ideas: Fate, Relationships: Family, Emotions/Behavior: Memory, Society: Community, Emotions/Behavior: Fear, Emotions/Behavior: HopeTags Poverty

A Long Way Home is a 2013 memoir by Saroo Brierley, an Indian-born author who was accidentally separated from his biological family at the age of five and adopted by an Australian couple. The memoir traces Saroo’s remarkable journey from India to Australia and back again 25 years later. The book inspired the 2016 film Lion and became a New York Times Best Seller after the film’s release. This guide refers to the 2015 edition published... Read A Long Way Home Summary


Publication year 2007Genre Autobiography / Memoir, NonfictionTags Coming of Age / Bildungsroman, History: World, WWII / World War II, Holocaust

A Lucky Child: A Memoir of Surviving Auschwitz as a Young Boy, first published in Germany 2007, is author Thomas Buergenthal's account of his childhood during the Nazi Occupation. Buergenthal was 6 years old when forced to abandon his home and spend the rest of his childhood running from Nazis and struggling to survive the Holocaust. Buergenthal’s horrific journey took him through bombings, labor camps, concentration camps, and “death marches.” He lost most of his... Read A Lucky Child Summary


Publication year 1993Genre Autobiography / Memoir, NonfictionTags History: U.S., Sociology, Immigration / Refugee

Always Running is the autobiography of Luis J. Rodriguez, a Mexican-American former gang member who grew up in dangerous East Los Angeles in the 1960s and 70s. Luis’ family moved to Los Angeles from Mexico after Luis’ father was accused of theft, and Luis spends his early years in Watts, a particularly crime-ridden LA neighborhood. Luis’ father struggles to find work, and the family struggles to find adequate shelter and food. After they are evicted... Read Always Running Summary


Publication year 1946Genre Autobiography / Memoir, NonfictionThemes Life/Time: Coming of Age, Society: NationTags Coming of Age / Bildungsroman

America is in the Heart is a semi-autobiographical novel published in 1946 by the Filipino American author Carlos Bulosan. A coming of age narrative told in four parts, the story begins in the Philippines, ends in America, and spans decades. Scholars compare it to other social activism classics like John Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath, but America is in the Heart is unique in that it portrays the plight of Filipino immigrants in America during... Read America is in the Heart Summary


Publication year 2012Genre Autobiography / Memoir, NonfictionThemes Society: War, Values/Ideas: Good & Evil, Relationships: Family, Relationships: SiblingsTags History: U.S., War On Terrorism / Iraq War

American Sniper is the autobiography of Chris Kyle, the single deadliest sniper in the history of the United States military. The narrative, co-written by Chris Kyle, Jim deFelice, Scott McEwen, and Chris’s wife Taya, opens with events that took place in 2003 in Iraq. At the time, Chris was providing protective fire for a group of Marines; a female insurgent attempted to attack the Marines with a grenade, but Chris shot her, registering his first... Read American Sniper Summary


Publication year 1987Genre Autobiography / Memoir, NonfictionThemes Life/Time: Childhood & YouthTags Education

Pulitzer Prize-winning author Annie Dillard wrote the autobiographical memoir An American Childhood (1987). In this memoir, Dillard (born in 1945) describes her intellectual development, from her first true intellectual awakening, at 5 years old, through her busy and happy pre-teen years and her turbulent adolescence, to her acceptance at a prestigious private college at age 18. An exploration of her childhood during the 1950s, this memoir operates as a coming-of-age story in which the author... Read An American Childhood Summary


Publication year 2007Genre Autobiography / Memoir, NonfictionThemes Values/Ideas: ArtTags Food, Arts / Culture, Science / Nature, Creative Nonfiction

Animal, Vegetable, Miracle (2007) is, on its surface, a memoir detailing a year in the life of one family, told through an account of their food. However, it is also at times a manifesto and frequently veers into academic exploration of themes like sustainability and the current state of farming in the US. Author Barbara Kingsolver sets out to chronicle a year in her family’s food life when they undertake an experiment: to “attempt to... Read Animal, Vegetable, Miracle Summary


Publication year 2010Genre Autobiography / Memoir, NonfictionThemes Relationships: Family, Values/Ideas: FateTags Trauma / Abuse / Violence, Coming of Age / Bildungsroman, Poverty, Addiction / Substance Abuse

Author Laura Schroff’s 2012 New York Times bestseller An Invisible Thread: The True Story of an 11-Year-Old Panhandler, a Busy Sales Executive, and an Unlikely Meeting with Destiny recounts a fateful meeting between two vastly different individuals: Maurice, a young boy living in poverty and a broken home, and Schroff, a successful ad executive enjoying a fast-paced career. In the memoir, the author posits that an invisible thread joins their lives. It is beyond her... Read An Invisible Thread Summary


Publication year 1995Genre Autobiography / Memoir, NonfictionThemes Relationships: FamilyTags Psychology, Mental Illness

An Unquiet Mind, written by Kay Redfield Jamison and first published in 1995, is a memoir about a clinical psychologist’s experience living with manic-depressive illness. The book details her life, from her early experiences as a child, through the beginning of her mood swings, her diagnosis of manic-depressive illness, her struggles with the disease, and her eventual management of and control over it, following years of therapy and medication. Aside from having experienced it, Jamison... Read An Unquiet Mind Summary


Publication year 2001Genre Autobiography / Memoir, NonfictionThemes Emotions/Behavior: Shame & Pride, Relationships: FamilyTags Coming of Age / Bildungsroman, Incarceration, Education

Jimmy Santiago Baca, born in 1952, is an American poet and author of A Place to Stand. This memoir begins with Baca’s early years at home with his drunken, abusive father and his unhappy mother. Baca loves his father, who is continually in and out of jail, but Baca’s mother abandons her three children to marry a man who can provide her a more stable life.Baca, his brother, and his sister live with their grandparents... Read A Place to Stand Summary


Publication year 2020Genre Memoir in Verse, NonfictionThemes Relationships: Family, Life/Time: Coming of Age, Society: Colonialism, Society: Community, Identity: IndigenousTags Race / Racism, Social Justice, LGBTQ

Publication year 2004Genre Autobiography / Memoir, NonfictionThemes Life/Time: Childhood & Youth, Relationships: FamilyTags Crime / Legal

A Rip in Heaven: A Memoir of Murder and Its Aftermath (2004) is a true-crime story and memoir by Jeanine Cummins. The book recounts the violent rape and murder of two young women, Julie and Robin Kerry, the author’s cousins, and focuses on the aftermath for their families. Tom Cummins, their cousin who is present during the crimes, is thrown off a bridge into the Mississippi River with the two women but survives. Innocent, he... Read A Rip in Heaven Summary


Publication year 1977Genre Autobiography / Memoir, NonfictionThemes Society: WarTags Military / War, Vietnam War

Philip Caputo’s 1977 memoir, A Rumor of War, depicts Caputo’s true experiences serving as a Marine during the Vietnam War. Lieutenant Caputo arrived in Vietnam in March 1965, with the first fighting troops assigned to combat there, and soon learned that his romantic notions of war bore no resemblance to the bloody brutality he and his men confront in fighting the Viet Cong and the North Vietnamese Army. As well as acknowledging the dehumanizing brutality... Read A Rumor of War Summary


Publication year 1988Genre Essay / Speech, NonfictionThemes Society: Politics & Government, Society: Colonialism, Emotions/Behavior: Conflict, Emotions/Behavior: Hate & Anger, Society: Class, Society: Education, Society: Economics, Values/Ideas: Truth & Lies, Values/Ideas: Justice & Injustice, Values/Ideas: Power & GreedTags Creative Nonfiction, Afro-Caribbean Literature, History: World, Politics / Government, Black Lives Matter

A Small Place by Jamaica Kincaid is a work of creative nonfiction originally published in 1988. Kincaid shares memories of her home country, Antigua, both while it was under colonial rule and self-governance. She illustrates how life has and hasn’t changed for Antiguan citizens because of government corruption, the legacies of slavery, and the preoccupation with tourism over public welfare. Though the book won no awards, Kincaid has won a plethora of awards for her... Read A Small Place Summary


Publication year 1987Genre Autobiography / Memoir, NonfictionTags Race / Racism

Shakur: An Autobiography traces events from Shakur Shakur’s early childhood to her time as a political refugee in Cuba. While the book was first published in 1988, this guide references the 2014 edition of the autobiography, which features a foreword written by Angela Davis and Lennox Hill.Content Warning: The source text and this study guide contain descriptions of racism, racist violence, and sexual abuse in a carceral context.SummaryShakur Olugbala Shakur (born JoAnne Deborah Byron) grew... Read Assata: An Autobiography Summary


Publication year 1994Genre Autobiography / Memoir, NonfictionThemes Values/Ideas: Beauty

Published in 1994, Autobiography of a Face is award-winning poet Lucy Grealy’s prose debut, a widely-celebrated memoir concerning the author’s struggles with cancer and disfigurement.At the age of 9, Lucy collides with a classmate during a game of dodgeball. The subsequent toothache leads her to seek medical assistance and doctors discover that she has Ewing’s sarcoma, a form of cancer with a 5% survival rate. She undergoes an operation to remove half of her jaw... Read Autobiography Of A Face Summary


Publication year 1953Genre Autobiography / Memoir, NonfictionTags History: European

A Woman in Berlin is a memoir first published in 1954. The memoir documents the experiences of a German woman as the Russian Army invades Berlin at the end of the Second World War. The book remained unpublished in German until 1959; until 2003, the identity of the author remained a mystery. Originally, the book was published as the work of an anonymous woman, but the author was eventually revealed to be journalist Marta Hillers... Read A Woman in Berlin Summary


Publication year 2001Genre Autobiography / Memoir, NonfictionTags Children's Literature

Bad Boy is a 2001 memoir spanning roughly the first seventeen years of YA writer Walter Dean Myers’s life. In it, Myers explores how the time he spent growing up in a mixed-race, working-class family in 1940s-and-50s Harlem impacted his eventual career as a writer.To do so, Myers first explains his complicated family history: Myers’s biological parents were both black, but he was adopted at a very young age by his father’s first wife, Florence—a... Read Bad Boy: A Memoir Summary


Publication year 1971Genre Autobiography / Memoir, NonfictionThemes Emotions/Behavior: Memory, Society: Immigration, Society: ClassTags Immigration / Refugee, Race / Racism

Barrio Boy is a memoir by Ernesto Galarza that narrates the author’s journey from a small village in Mexico to a barrio in the United States. Considered a founding text in ethnic studies, the book was originally published in 1971 and was reissued as a 40th anniversary edition in 2011. Barrio Boy follows the author from his birth in the small town of Jalcocotán in 1905 up until high school. Galarza, who went on to... Read Barrio Boy Summary


Publication year 2007Genre Autobiography / Memoir, NonfictionTags Addiction / Substance Abuse

Published in 2008, David Sheff’s memoir, Beautiful Boy, explores his experiences of coming to terms with his son’s addiction to methamphetamine. Sheff and his wife Vicki are overjoyed when they have their son, Nic. For the first three years, they live a happy, contented life, providing Nic with everything he needs. However, when Sheff and Vicki's marriage collapses, Nic, now aged three, is deeply affected by the change. This worsens when Sheff and Vicki move... Read Beautiful Boy Summary


Publication year 2021Genre Autobiography / Memoir, NonfictionThemes Life/Time: Coming of Age, Society: Immigration, Identity: Language, Values/Ideas: Safety & Danger, Relationships: Mothers, Relationships: Daughters & Sons, Identity: Race, Natural World: Food, Society: Education, Emotions/Behavior: Shame & Pride, Emotions/Behavior: Determination / PerseveranceTags Chinese Literature, Immigration / Refugee, Poverty, American Literature, Education

Publication year 2018Genre Autobiography / Memoir, NonfictionTags Gender / Feminism, Politics / Government, History: U.S., Women's Studies (Nonfiction)

Becoming is a memoir by Michelle Obama, the former First Lady of the United States from 2008-2016, originally published in 2018. In addition to describing her time in the White House, Obama details her upbringing, her education, her work in community outreach, and her relationship with former president Barack Obama, all of which contribute to the process of becoming the woman she is today. Becoming was the bestselling book of the year in 2018 and... Read Becoming Summary


Publication year 2004Genre Autobiography / Memoir, NonfictionThemes Values/Ideas: Fate, Values/Ideas: Safety & Danger, Self Discovery, Emotions/Behavior: courage, Emotions/Behavior: Determination / Perseverance, Emotions/Behavior: Hope, Life/Time: Mortality & DeathTags Inspirational, Action / Adventure, Travel Literature, Animals, Arts / Culture, Philosophy, Relationships, Religion / Spirituality, Science / Nature, Music, Sports

Between a Rock and a Hard Place is a 2004 adventure and survival memoir by American mountain climber Aron Ralston. The narrative focuses on Ralston’s near-death experience when his arm became stuck under a boulder in a canyon in Utah, where he remained trapped for five days until he amputated his arm. Dealing with profound existential themes, the book garnered critical acclaim and became a New York Times bestseller. A 2010 film adaptation titled 127... Read Between a Rock and a Hard Place Summary


Publication year 1817Genre Autobiography / Memoir, NonfictionTags Romanticism / Romantic Period, Philosophy

The Romantic poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge published Biographia Literaria, his semiautobiographical work on aesthetic theory, in 1817. Charting the history of his literary career and melding amusing autobiographical anecdotes with what Coleridge calls “transcendental philosophy” (91), the text is an influential work of literary criticism. Capturing Coleridge’s political ideas about the French Revolution and the American Declaration of Independence, the work is also an important historical document. In its pages, Coleridge uses 19th-century philosophical ideas... Read Biographia Literaria Summary


Publication year 1997Genre Autobiography / Memoir, NonfictionTags History: European, History: U.S., Immigration / Refugee

Peter Balakian’s Black Dog of Fate: A Memoir (1997) tells the story of the author’s path to embracing his Armenian identity and understanding the legacies of a dark history. Born into the comfortable and consumerist suburbs of mid-century American suburbia, Balakian experienced the vestibules of his family’s Armenian culture mostly through the influence of his maternal grandmother. As he grew up, he caught other glimpses of the family’s heritage; in particular, home rituals in their... Read Black Dog of Fate Summary


Publication year 1932Genre Autobiography / Memoir, NonfictionTags History: U.S.

Black Elk Speaks (1932) is a book written by John G. Neihardt that relates the life of Black Elk, a member of the Ogalala band of the Lakota Native Americans. Though Neihardt is the book’s author, the book is based on a conversation between Black Elk and Neihardt and is presented as a transcript of Black Elk’s words, though Neihardt made some edits to the transcript. The book follows Black Elk from his boyhood to... Read Black Elk Speaks Summary


Publication year 2004Genre Autobiography / Memoir, NonfictionTags Race / Racism, History: U.S., Crime / Legal, Civil Rights / Jim Crow

Blood Done Sign My Name (2004), by Timothy B. Tyson, is a nonfiction work of history centered on the racially motivated 1970 murder of Henry Marrow Jr. in Oxford, North Carolina. The killing occurred after Marrow, a 23-year-old Black Army veteran, husband, and father of two, allegedly made a flirtatious remark in the direction of a 19-year-old married white woman. The woman’s husband, brother-in-law, and father-in-law chased Marrow down the street, shot him from behind... Read Blood Done Sign My Name Summary


Publication year 2016Genre Autobiography / Memoir, NonfictionThemes Identity: Race, Society: Colonialism, Life/Time: Coming of AgeTags Coming of Age / Bildungsroman, Race / Racism, History: African

Born a Crime is a comedic autobiographical work chronicling Trevor Noah’s childhood growing up in South Africa. Published in 2016, it became a New York Times Bestseller, and it’s currently being adapted into a film. Born a Crime doesn’t follow a linear timeline; rather, the narrative jumps around, offering anecdotes from Noah’s past. Before each chapter begins, there’s a prologue that’s related to the content of the upcoming chapter. Usually, these sections provide historical facts... Read Born a Crime Summary


Publication year 2006Genre Autobiography / Memoir, NonfictionThemes Identity: Disability, Relationships: Family, Relationships: FriendshipTags Disability, Psychology, LGBTQ

Born on a Blue Day: Inside the Extraordinary Mind of an Autistic Savant is Daniel Tammet’s memoir and his first published book. In it, he recalls his childhood, adolescence, and adulthood leading up to the point in his life when he became independent with a partner and a career. Born on a Blue Day was a New York Times best seller following its publication in 2006.Tammet is, as identified in the subtitle, an autistic savant... Read Born on a Blue Day Summary


Publication year 1976Genre Autobiography / Memoir, NonfictionThemes Society: WarTags Military / War, Vietnam War

Born on the Fourth of July is a 1976 memoir written by wounded Vietnam veteran and antiwar activist Ron Kovic. The memoir was adapted into a 1989 film directed by Oliver Stone; Kovic and Stone co-wrote the screenplay, which earned an Oscar nomination. In the memoir, Kovic describes his experiences in and surrounding his tours of duty in Vietnam, including why he enlisted in the United States Marine Corps, how he was injured, and how... Read Born on the Fourth of July Summary


Publication year 2011Genre Autobiography / Memoir, NonfictionThemes Identity: GenderTags Gender / Feminism, Humor, Women's Studies (Nonfiction)

Bossypants is a humorous memoir published in 2011 by actor and writer Tina Fey. Fey describes growing up as an awkward, smart-mouthed girl and traces the process by which she enters show business, from working at a theater summer camp, to taking night improv classes, to writing for Saturday Night Live, and finally to creating her own television sitcom, 30 Rock. Fey writes of the discrimination and double standards to which women in show business... Read Bossypants Summary


Publication year 2012Genre Autobiography / Memoir, NonfictionThemes Emotions/Behavior: Memory, Values/Ideas: MusicTags Psychology, Mental Illness

Brain on Fire (2012) is a memoir by New York Post writer Susannah Cahalan that details her struggle with a rare autoimmune disease, anti-NMDA-receptor autoimmune encephalitis. Cahalan recollects the journey through illness that took her from a normal, 24-year-old journalist to a misdiagnosed psychotic patient, and back again. In 2018, Netflix released a film based on Cahalan’s story, produced by Cahalan and Charlize Theron.Plot SummaryCahalan wakes in a hospital with no understanding of how she... Read Brain On Fire Summary


Publication year 2010Genre Autobiography / Memoir, Nonfiction

Breaking Night: A Memoir of Forgiveness, Survival, and My Journey from Homeless to Harvard is a memoir that opens with an adolescent, Liz Murray, who is homeless. She describes a picture of her mother (her only surviving photograph), and compares her own physical features with her mother’s,then wonders if they were alike in other ways, seeing as how they were both homeless by the age of sixteen. A story about forgiveness and redemption after addiction and... Read Breaking Night Summary


Publication year 2007Genre Autobiography / Memoir, NonfictionThemes Society: Immigration, Relationships: FamilyTags Immigration / Refugee, Afro-Caribbean Literature

Brother I’m Dying is a family memoir by Haitian-American writer Edwidge Danticat, originally published in the United States in 2007. Alternating between the author’s past in Haiti and present in the US, this memoir combines personal histories with sociopolitical contextualization to pay homage to Danticat’s father and uncle as well as give voice to Haitian people in their struggle for a peaceful life. The book won the National Book Critics Circle Award, was a finalist... Read Brother, I'm Dying Summary


Publication year 2018Genre Autobiography / Memoir, NonfictionTags Children's Literature

Call Me American is a memoir written by Somali author Abdi Nor Iftin, co-authored with Max Alexander and published in 2018. It documents Iftin’s escape from a war-town Somali, buoyed by his love of American culture.Plot SummaryAbdi Nor Iftin is born in Somalia “probably in 1985” (7). Both of his parents are nomadic farmers who move to the city of Mogadishu during a drought in the 1970s. The residents of Mogadishu look down on the... Read Call Me American Summary


Publication year 1980Genre Autobiography / Memoir, NonfictionTags Crime / Legal

Catch Me If You Can: The True Story of a Real Fake is a nonfiction book written from the perspective of Frank Abagnale, a famous conartist and check-forger. Though styled as an autobiography, the book was co-written by Abagnale and author Stan Redding. Originally published in 1980, Catch Me If You Can was popularized by a 2002 film directed by Steven Spielberg and starring Leonardo DiCaprio. The book also inspired a Broadway musical of the... Read Catch Me If You Can Summary


Publication year 1999Genre Autobiography / Memoir, NonfictionThemes Values/Ideas: FateTags Travel Literature

Catfish and Mandala: A Two-Wheeled Voyage through the Landscape and Memory of Vietnam is a 1999 nonfiction book by Andrew X. Pham. Pham’s other books include The Eaves of Heaven: A Life in Three Wars and The Theory of Flight. He is a recipient of the Kiriyama Pacific Rim Award, the Whiting Award, and a Guggenheim Fellowship.Plot SummaryPham, an American citizen, decides to take a cycling trip to Vietnam in a search for identity. It... Read Catfish And Mandala Summary


Publication year 1542Genre Book, NonfictionThemes Society: Colonialism, Society: War, Society: Nation, Identity: Race, Values/Ideas: Religion & Spirituality, Values/Ideas: Safety & Danger, Values/Ideas: Truth & Lies, Values/Ideas: Power & GreedTags History: World, Latin American Literature, Christian literature, Creative Nonfiction, Colonialism / Postcolonialism, Trauma / Abuse / Violence, Race / Racism, Renaissance

The Chronicle of the Narváez Expedition by Alvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca was originally written in 1542, with a reprint in 1555. The chronicle follows Cabeza de Vaca’s memories of his survival after the expedition (led by Pánfilo de Narváez) failed and broke apart, and his subsequent peregrinations through the southwestern United States and northern Mexico. His chronicle stands as an important primary document of the age of the conquistadores. Of particular importance are Cabeza... Read Chronicle of the Narvaez Expedition Summary


Publication year 1968Genre Autobiography / Memoir, NonfictionThemes Life/Time: Coming of AgeTags Race / Racism

First published in 1968, Coming of Age in Mississippi is an autobiography of Anne Moody, a black civil rights worker in the 1960s. The memoir starts with Moody (born Essie Mae Moody) as a young child, continues through her high school and college years, and finishes with Moody’s work in “the Movement” (civil rights movement). Narrated in the first-person and in a straightforward manner, the book unflinchingly describes poverty, segregated education, violence against black people... Read Coming Of Age In Mississippi Summary


Publication year 2012Genre Autobiography / Memoir, Nonfiction

Crazy Brave: A Memoir is an autobiographical work by poet, writer, artist, and musician Joy Harjo that was published by W. W. Norton and Company in 2012. The memoir follows the life of Joy Harjo from birth to adulthood and her struggles with spirituality and creativity while living with various alcoholic and abusive men. Over the course of her life, she discovers that poetry, art, storytelling, and music can liberate her from her oppressive domestic... Read Crazy Brave Summary


Publication year 2018Genre Autobiography / Memoir, NonfictionTags Immigration / Refugee

Dear America—Notes of an Undocumented Citizen is a collection of essays written by Jose Antonio Vargas, published in 2018. The book relates the author’s struggle of coming to the United States from the Philippines in an illegal manner and growing up in America without the full documentation that would have made him a legal immigrant.As a 12-year-old boy in the Philippines, the author is surprised by his mother one morning. She rushes him to the... Read Dear America Summary