10 More Memoirs to Read if You Loved Educated
My first post on this topic is the most popular one I’ve ever published! Read-alike lists are the most read of all the content I create.
I have mixed feelings about that because while they’re easy to write, they require little from me in terms of creativity. All I have to do is research which books are currently popular and then come up with similar titles.
When I first started blogging, I was resistant to writing listicles like this. Then I realized how popular they are! The reason they’re popular is because they help people, which is my primary goal with this blog. I want to introduce people to books they wouldn’t find otherwise.
While my personal feelings about Educated don’t agree with the masses, I understand why readers love it. It’s the same reason I love to read memoir, and to write it. Educated gives readers a first person look into a life they will never live and find fascinating.
So here are more memoirs (in my opinion many of them are much better written) from writers who have lived unique, if somewhat dysfunctional lives. I hope you find something here that you enjoy!
10 More Memoirs to Read if You Loved Educated
Southern Discomfort by Tena Clark
From Goodreads: A riveting and profoundly moving memoir set in rural Mississippi during the Civil Rights era about a white girl coming of age in a repressive society and the woman who gave her the strength to forge her own path—the black nanny who cared for her.
Estranged: Leaving Family and Finding Home by Jessica Berger Gross
From Goodreads: A powerful, haunting memoir about one woman’s childhood of abuse and her harrowing decision to leave it all behind that redefines our understanding of estrangement and the ability to triumph over adversity. Ultimately, by extracting herself from the damaging patterns and relationships of the past, Jessica has managed to carve an inspiring path to happiness—one she has created on her own terms. Her story, told here in a careful, unflinching, and forthright way, completely reframes how we think about family and the past.
The Escape Artist by Helen Fremont
From Goodreads: Fremont writes with wit and candor about growing up in a household held together by a powerful glue: secrets. Her parents, profoundly affected by their memories of the Holocaust, pass on, to both Helen and her older sister, a penchant for keeping their lives neatly, even obsessively compartmentalized, and a zealous determination to protect themselves from what they see as danger from the outside world. In a family devoted to hiding the truth, Fremont learns the truth is the one thing that can set you free.
River House by Sarahlee Lawrence
From Goodreads: An exquisite blend of memoir and nature writing, River House is the story of a young woman returning home to her family’s ranch and building a log house with the help of her father. An avid river rafter, Sarahlee Lawrence grew up in remote central Oregon and, by the age of twenty-one, had rafted some of the most dangerous rivers of the world as an accomplished river guide. But living her dream led her back to the place she least expected—her dusty beginnings and her family’s home.
Claiming Ground by Laura Bell
From Goodreads: In 1977, Laura Bell, at loose ends after graduating from college, leaves her family home in Kentucky for a wild and unexpected adventure: herding sheep in Wyoming’s Big Horn Basin. Inexorably drawn to this life of solitude and physical toil, a young woman in a man’s world, she is perhaps the strangest member of this beguiling community of drunks and eccentrics. So begins her unabating search for a place to belong and for the raw materials with which to create a home and family of her own.
The Line Becomes a River: Dispatches From the Border by Francisco Cantu
From Goodreads: For Francisco Cantú, the border is in the blood: his mother, a park ranger and daughter of a Mexican immigrant, raised him in the scrublands of the Southwest. Haunted by the landscape of his youth, Cantú joins the Border Patrol. He and his partners are posted to remote regions crisscrossed by drug routes and smuggling corridors, where they learn to track other humans under blistering sun and through frigid nights. They haul in the dead and deliver to detention those they find alive. Cantú tries not to think where the stories go from there. Plagued by nightmares, he abandons the Patrol for civilian life. But when an immigrant friend travels to Mexico to visit his dying mother and does not return, Cantú discovers that the border has migrated with him, and now he must know the whole story.
Mean by Myriam Gurba
From Goodreads: Myriam Gurba’s debut is the bold and hilarious tale of her coming of age as a queer, mixed-race Chicana. Blending radical formal fluidity and caustic humor, Mean turns what might be tragic into piercing, revealing comedy. This is a confident, funny, brassy book that takes the cost of sexual assault, racism, misogyny, and homophobia deadly seriously.
Heartland by Sarah Smarsh
From Goodreads: During Sarah Smarsh’s turbulent childhood in Kansas in the 1980s and 1990s, the forces of cyclical poverty and the country’s changing economic policies solidified her family’s place among the working poor. By telling the story of her life and the lives of the people she loves, Smarsh challenges us to look more closely at the class divide in our country and examine the myths about people thought to be less because they earn less. Her personal history affirms the corrosive impact intergenerational poverty can have on individuals, families, and communities, and she explores this idea as lived experience, metaphor, and level of consciousness.
Maid by Stephanie Land
From Goodreads: While the gap between upper middle-class Americans and the working poor widens, grueling low-wage domestic and service work–primarily done by women–fuels the economic success of the wealthy. Stephanie Land worked for years as a maid, pulling long hours while struggling as a single mom to keep a roof over her daughter’s head. In Maid, she reveals the dark truth of what it takes to survive and thrive in today’s inequitable society.