Female-Written Memoirs You Need To Add To Your Reading List Right Now
We’ve rounded up eight female-written memoirs that need to be on your reading list ASAP. The books offer some of the most insightful, funny, and moving stories about being a woman, and everything that comes with it: Motherhood, sexuality, identity, love, longing, and loss. Funny women, serious women, talkative women, deep women, struggling women, successful women—whichever you feel like reading about, we’ve got just the recommendation for you.
Becoming by Michelle Obama
Michelle Obama prefaces her memoir with a moment of quietude. The lawyer and former First Lady has a lot to say about her childhood, about her family and marriage, about being in the White House, about what else she will be, and what else she will become. But before anything else, she gives us a glimpse of moments we don't see even as she was in the public eye every single day. Michelle's tone is the perfect mix of presidential and personal, and every sentence and experience she shares with her readers feel intimate and real. Michelle Obama, in Becoming, feels like a friend.
The Princess Diarist by Carrie Fisher
The Princess Diarist is the final book of the late Carrie Fisher, and it is created from her handwritten journals while shooting the first Star Wars film, chronicling events from that period in her life—most notably her affair with co-star Harrison Ford, a secret which they have managed to keep out of the public's leering eyes for almost forty years. But the book is not just hot revelatory tales: As it is with Carrie's writing, it is a candid, emotional, and intimate record of Carrie's womanhood, struggles with mental illness, and time in Hollywood. "I had never been Princess Leia before," Carrie writes. "And now I would be her forever. I would never not be Princess Leia. I had no idea how profoundly true that was and how long forever was."
The Princess Diarist is available in Fully Booked.
Talking As Fast As I Can by Lauren Graham
While technically not a memoir in the purest sense of the word, Gilmore Girls and Parenthood star Lauren Graham’s sophomore book is every bit as personal and as intimate as any other memoir that's out in stores. This collection of essays covers Lauren’s time as Lorelai Gilmore, her meeting and eventual romance with Six Feet Under heartthrob Peter Krause, getting to return to Stars Hollow via the highly-anticipated, four-episode Gilmore Girls revival in 2016, and everything else in between.
The actress-slash-writer (she also has a semi-autobiographical novel out, called Someday, Someday Maybe) regales fans, both new and returning, with stories of her life through her undeniable and distinct charm that translates seamlessly onto the written page. The book radiates with Lauren’s contagious effervescence, even during the more trying moments of her life, and it’s almost impossible to put down once you’ve picked it up.
Talking As Fast As I Can is available in Fully Booked
Home: A Memoir of My Early Years by Julie Andrews
Dame Julie Andrews’ first word is ‘home.’ In this book, The Sound of Music and Princess Diaries star details her early years, from a childhood in a rat-infested house in Surrey, to living her most cherished memories in The Old Meuse, her maternal grandmother’s home in Hersham. Julie tells the story of her life before fame, as a young girl with ‘bandy legs’ and a ‘freak voice’—one that could call upon dogs from miles away—to giving birth to her daughter, Emma Walton, just before she set off to Hollywood to star in the role that would earn her an Oscar, Mary Poppins.
Julie, who had lost her voice after a botched surgery in 1997, had often said that she had found a new voice in writing, and that perhaps makes this book all the more special. Well-loved around the world, whether as Maria von Trapp or Queen Clarisse Renaldi, Julie has claimed the hearts of thousands, and lets readers in on the life she has made for herself. She talks about singing for the Royal Family at age 13 (thirteen!), running into Cary Grant, making her Broadway debut in My Fair Lady, and sending best pal Carol Burnett a funny telegram.
Home: A Memoir of My Early Years is available in National Book Store
The Last Full Moon: Lessons of My Life by Gilda Cordero Fernando
Short story and creative nonfiction maven Gilda Cordero Fernando published this memoir in time for her 75th birth year, to tell stories about her life “while she can still remember,” she says cheekily. In The Last Full Moon, Gilda entertains loyal as well as new readers with tales about her childhood, the horrors of the war (it wouldn’t be a Gilda story without the horrors of the war), her life as a fiction writer in the male-dominated literary scene of the 1950s, and becoming a champion for Philippine books, local art, and artists. Gilda is the ultimate cultural icon, and this book is proof of that, from its cover to its inside pages.
The Last Full Moon is available on Google Books
Stay Sexy & Don’t Get Murdered by Karen Kilgariff and Georgia Hardstark
Karen Kilgariff and Georgia Hardstark, hosts of the hit true crime podcast My Favorite Murder recently released a dual autobiography that covers their lives pre-MFM as well as years during and after it. Karen is a stand-up comic and writer (she’d been the head writer of Ellen DeGeneres’ daytime talk show during its early years) and Georgia is a television and podcast personality, and the two became fast friends because of their shared fascination with true crime. If you've been listening to their podcast, it's impossible not to hear their voices (which paragraphs are written by whom are indicated), and it's a hilarious, real, and extremely no-nonsense, which both women are profoundly famous for.
Stay Sexy & Don’t Get Murdered is available in Fully Booked.
The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion
In 2003, Joan Didion’s husband and daughter died within a period of one year. In 2005, she would write about the events that transpired within that year, including irrationality and near-insanity, and how she had dealt with each one. It’s an education in grief and mourning, in “magical thinking,” in losing oneself when we lose our loved ones, in survival. Joan re-lives the events of that one year, from the moment she finds out about John’s death, Quintana's hospitalization, and making peace with the circumstances of her life, no matter how begrudgingly. This book is best paired with a viewing of The Center Will Not Hold on Netflix. Prepare tissues.
Myself, Elsewhere trilogy by Carmen Guerrero Nakpil
This trilogy of autobiographies details writer and historian Carmen Guerrero Nakpil’s life and times as a young woman before, during, and after the war (Myself, Elsewhere); working under the Marcos administration and feuding with Gina Lollobrigida over the writing of a book (Legends & Adventures); and being mistaken for General Fabian Ver’s mistress (Exeunt). In these books, the late essayist combined her command of language with her love for history, giving readers a masterpiece that juxtaposed her most personal moments against a backdrop of the goings-on in the Philippines.
The doubly-widowed Carmen also wrote with a tone so non-committal at times that sentences laced with emotion and feeling would hit extra harder: “I did not know how to tell him about the manic joy I felt over having just survived,” Carmen wrote of her father’s eventual outrage at her insolence after the war. “His sorrow turned to anger, we reached an emotional peak, and he stopped speaking to me. He did not know that, as someone else wrote, some people often heal their heart by killing it.”
Myself, Elsewhere and Legends & Adventures are available in National Book Store. Exeunt is available on artbooks.ph
Lead photos from Artbooks.ph, Becoming by Michelle Obama, and Amazon