Memoirs I Read This Year | - Old School Blogger. Not an influencer.

Memoirs I Read This Year

What I Read Memoirs

Over the years I have come to really love a good memoir. Memoir is the gritty stuff, the little shards that may not fit together perfectly because life doesn’t, either. Memoir is, in my experience, the best way to immerse yourself in a new perspective that really existed, or exists, in the same world we all inhabit. I try and mix up my fiction and non-fiction as much as possible, depending on what is available at my local library. Below are the memoirs I have enjoyed reading this year so far: 

Born a Crime: Stories From a South African Childhood

by Trevor Noah
‘We tell people to follow their dreams, but you can only dream of what you can imagine, and, depending on where you come from, your imagination can be quite limited.’

This is one of the most touching love letters to a mother I have ever read. Although this is presented as a collection of coming-of-age stories in a time where his existence was literally a crime, Trevor's words radiate pure and unconditional love for his mother.

Noah has written a profound account about his humble beginnings, the pervasive presence of violence in his home and his country at large, and his own racial identity crisis, the result of having been born in a place where the frequent reaction to a person of mixed race was astonishment, contempt or both.

The fact that Noah was able to overcome such a difficult upbringing it almost miraculous and reason enough to read his story. But I think his views on poverty, racism, domestic violence are also worth listening to, mainly because he has the emotional scars to prove his credentials as a reliable witness.

This is a very moving memoir that will make you laugh and cry, but I trust that it will also leave you with a good dose of optimism.

Open Book

by Jessica Simpson
I was so pleasantly surprised by Open Book! I picked this up on a whim after hearing good things, and I’m so glad I did!

I’m surprised to say this is truly one of the best celebrity memoirs I’ve ever read. Jessica has been journaling since she was 15 years old and gives very depth details about her life. She spares nothing- we follow along as she goes from choir singer to failed 'mouseketeer' to owner of a billion dollar clothing-line and wife and mother. She really doesn’t hold anything back, but it wasn’t salacious and she didn’t try and make herself out to be perfect. She opens up about her body image issues, relationships, problems with her family, and drinking issues. All I can say is that's an apt title for her memoir. Highly recommend.

Love, Loss, and What We Ate: A Memoir

by Padma Lakshmi
For someone who always seemed to convey a serene and low-key spirit—at least while on TV—Padma has certainly led a life of high drama. From her struggle to fit in and assimilate as a young immigrant from India to her tumultuous relationship and marriage with Salman Rushdie, and everything that happened afterwards, her life has definitely been a roller coaster ride.

But I also have to add that I’ve read many celebrity memoirs and it never fails to surprise me how fast they lose touch with reality and forget what it's like to be a person in the real workaday world. For example, as she is contemplating a divorce from Salman Rushdie she says, “It was to confront the possibility that when we parted ways, I might disappear back into the relative obscurity from which I came.” To further illustrate my point, as she struggles with her after-baby weight, she writes, “Wondering what would happen to my career if I couldn’t lose the baby weight made me force myself to accept a reality I had not often considered. My looks were an asset I had consciously or unconsciously benefited from all my life.” Really? How could you not always know that?

Nonetheless, despite a wee bit of over overwriting and meandering prose, this was a fairly well done and intimate memoir of Padma. I enjoyed the reference to food sprinkled throughout the book. Overall, an easy read, with some yummy recipes thrown in, and a lot of nostalgic memories of people and places.

Have you read these? Would you like to recommend me any that you have enjoyed? 

We are excited to kick off summer! 

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  1. I really need to read some more in general, but there's a few memoirs I'd like to div into. From your description, it sounds like I need to pick up Padma's book.

  2. I've been hearing a lot of good things about Open Book. I would have never thought it would get such a hype. I'm considering reading it next month.

  3. Open Book is one that has been on my list for a while. I've heard such great thing about it! Glad to hear you enjoyed!


  4. I, like you, picked up Open Book because people recommended it but I didn't have high expectations and I was also blown away! I loved her compete candor and actually took a lot out of it as far as body image and dealing with that struggle.

  5. I love Trevor Noah so I definitely need to check out this first one! Thanks for sharing!

  6. okay now i want to read all of these!! i have had Jessica Simpson's on my list for a while and might be time to get to it!

  7. I'd really like to read Trevor Noah's memoir. Somehow I didn't even know he had one - which is shocking considering how much I pay attention to books. I guess because memoirs aren't my typical genre, I missed it. Sounds good!

  8. I’m heading to the beach and needed some good reads. Thanks for the suggestions!


  9. Thanks for the a $750 Amazon Gift, really hope to have win this. I can't wail to read some of these here.

  10. I have to say I am not sure I have ever made a memoir. But maybe it's about time I did...starting with one of these!

  11. I have not read these but always have one book to tell people about whenever they ask, mainly because it changed my life. It is called Can't Hurt Me by David Goggins, it was so relatable and empowering for me.

  12. open book is on my wish list to read , its actually waiting untill i finish the book i am currently reading kind regards Pati Robins at style squeeze blog

  13. I've been wanting to read Padma's book for a while now. What a great list of memoirs to check out.

  14. I've not gotten to any of these but I am very curious about Open Book by Jessica Simpson, thanks for your review, now I wanna read it more lol.

  15. I will check out your list on Amazon. I have been reading lots of books lately.

  16. Laura @ KidletteJune 23, 2020 at 2:55 PM

    Somehow I forgot about all three of these! I'd really like to read all of them.

  17. I love reading but haven't had time recently, hopefully I will again soon. Great giveaway!

  18. I've heard a lot of great things about JS' book! I'm dying to find time to read more.

  19. I'm not a big fan of reading memoirs...but I've heard great things about Open Book.


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