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Welcome to My Life: A Study of Memoires

By Hippiebookworm @HippieBookworm

People pen their memoirs for a variety of reasons. They believe their story will help or encourage others. They want to have a record of where they started and how they got to where they are. Or they just want to remember good times, good stories and good memories that have passed. One thing is for sure, they are inviting you into their life – opening the front door into their home, relationships and experiences.

In the past I have read a number of different memoirs. Here are my five favorites from my recent reading list.

In an Instant by Lee & Bob Woodruff

Welcome to my life: A Study of Memoires

In January of 2006, after being announced as the new co-anchor of ABC World News, Bob Woodruff’s life was turned upside down. Covering the war in Iraq, Bob’s armored vehicle hit an IED resulting in a devastating brain injury that no one knew if he could recover from.

This memoir, In An Instant, is told mainly from the perspective of his devoted wife, Lee, as she takes us on the journey of her husband’s recovery and of how their lives had led up to this moment in Iraq. Bob also has a few chapters, telling his side of the stories that Lee shares with us about their lives around the world and through the television news hierarchy.

Nanaville by Anna Quindlen

Welcome to my life: A Study of Memoires

Anna Quindlen is an amazing Women’s Fiction author. But she has also been known to share pieces of her own story and her family within the pages of a memoir. Nanaville is about the role change that all mother’s must undertake when they are about to become first-time grandparents. In her naturally humorous voice, she recounts the joys and lessons of becoming a first-time grandmother to her eldest grandson.

American Daughter by Stephanie Thornton Plymale

Welcome to my life: A Study of Memoires

Mental health is a huge topic nowadays. From encouraging those who suffer from mental illness to not be ashamed to reach out for help to training public servants on how to de-escalate situations involving those with a mental health disorder.

Stephanie Thornton Plymale tells us all about it in American Daughter. Her family history – including her mother, father and siblings – all suffer from some form of mental illness. Her story isn’t easy to read, as she recounts her days of homelessness, the mysterious disappearance of a younger sibling and her own sexual abuse at the hands of those who were supposed to be protecting her. What her story does give is hope. Somehow, through the bleakness of her beginning story, Stephanie has survived and is thriving with a business and a family of her own.

Hidden Valley Road by Robert Kolker

Welcome to my life: A Study of Memoires

Follow us to Hidden Valley Road where the Galvin family was supposed to be the poster family for the mid-century American Dream. Don, an Air Force contractor, and his wife Mimi have 12 children between the time of 1945 to 1965. While picture-perfect on the outside, the Galvin family was hiding a dark secret – 6 of the 12 children (all male) were diagnosed with the mental health disorder Schizophrenia.

Followed closely by the National Institute of Mental Health, the Galvin family would play a crucial role in early modern understanding of their disease as it relates to treatment, genetics and quality of life. While heart wrenching at times, this is the true and complicated story of this extraordinary family.

Instant Mom by Nia Vardalos

Welcome to my life: A Study of Memoires

What do you do when you have everything except the one thing that you really want – a child? Nia Vardalos is best known for her role in the My Big Fat Greek Wedding. She’s beautiful, charming and living a star-studded life. But at some point, all she can concentrate on is the large empty house she shares with her husband in hopes of one day starting a family.

When traditional and medical efforts produce no results, Nia begins to look into the possibility of adopting from the Foster Care System – essentially becoming an Instant Mom. Nia shares her experiences of working within the foster care system and realizing that maybe what she thought she wanted, needed to be tweaked to give her exactly what she needed.

Welcome to my life: A Study of Memoires

Each of these books allows us a small glimpse into others’ lives. They have family struggles, life obstacles to overcome, opportunities they couldn’t turn down and reasons to celebrate. I hope you take some time before the sun sets on summer to dig in to a great memoir and walk a mile in someone else’s shoes.

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Find these reads on Amazon

What is your favorite biography, autobiography or memoir?

Leave your answer in the comments below.

Welcome to my life: A Study of Memoires

Bonus: Check out these other nonfiction works I’ve reviewed and recommended over the years.

Non-Fiction Reviews &Recommendations

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