8 Page-turning Memoirs You Won't Be Able to Put Down

If you can see it, you can be it. Meaning, sometimes it takes seeing someone else overcome adversity to realise you can do it too. Be inspired by these incredible memoirs, where ordinary people show extraordinary strength, from Eggshell Skull, where author Bri Lee faces traumatic childhood memories while assisting a judge in sexual abuse cases, to Educated, in which a childhood of isolation and hardship leads to a remarkable adulthood. 

If you need a break from light-hearted fiction or critically acclaimed novels and can't decide what book to read next, pick up one of these memoirs and get the strength you need to get through 2020.

Eggshell Skull by Bri Lee

Bri Lee is a law graduate and author, whose experiences working as a judge's associate after graduating brought back childhood memories of sexual abuse. Eggshell Skull is a nuanced, confronting memoir that shows its author's strength and empowers readers to find their own power.

Educated by Tara Westover

Tara Westover was raised in a survivalist Mormon family away from mainstream culture and deep in the mountains of Idaho. In her award-winning memoir—one of the most lauded and popular non-fiction books of the decade—she recounts the isolation, abuse and alienation that informed her singularly resilient worldview.

Brain on Fire by Susannah Cahalan

A happy, healthy young journalist wakes up in hospital with no memory of how she got there. She descends into a state of acute psychosis, leaving doctors baffled. In her memoir, Susannah Cahalan follows her journey into madness and out of it. 

Hunger by Roxane Gay

Roxane Gay's critically acclaimed memoir is about self-image in an age where the bigger a woman is, the less she is seen. Hunger is vulnerable and intimate, and will lead you to reconsider your own relationship with your body and encourage a more empathetic way of approaching others.

Everything I Know About Love by Dolly Alderton

In true Dolly Alderton style, her memoir is both wildly funny and incredibly hopeful. The author and podcaster recounts all the coming-of-age milestones that come with living through your 20s with enough heart and humour to give you strength as you do the same—or reflect on the decade that was.

Untamed by Glennon Doyle

Glennon Doyle began writing memoir in the form of a blog, where she chronicled her struggle with bulimia, addiction, marriage and parenthood. In Untamed, she harnesses her ability to communicate relatable truths in a direct and relatable way, catching the attention of one Reese Witherspoon and the Hello Sunshine Book Club.

Stray By Stephanie Danler

You'll know Stephanie Danler as the author of the bestselling 2016 novel Sweetbitter. In her memoir, Stray, she faces the demons from her past that were holding her back—despite her success and author. The legacies of childhood trauma—an alcoholic mother, an absent and drug-addicted father—are brought to the surface and faced head on.

Know My Name by Chanel Miller

Chanel Miller was once known publicly as Emily Doe, the sexual assault victim in the Brock Turner case that gave prominence to the Me Too movement. In September 2019 she released her memoir, Know My Name, to give voice to victims of sexual assault all over the world.

Want more fiction? If you loved Liane Moriarty's Nine Perfect Strangers, here are 5 books you'll love just as much.

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