Memoir Books

I Love Yous Are for White People

Rating:  I Love Yous Are for White People, by Lac Su. Harper Perennial (2009), 249 pages. Lac Su has a compelling story to tell in this memoir: As a five-year-old he escaped Vietnam under gunfire with his parents and little sister, they began life in America...

The House at Sugar Beach

Rating:  The House at Sugar Beach: In Search of a Lost African Childhood, by Helene Cooper. Simon & Schuster (2008), 351 pages. Liberia was founded in 1822 by freed American slaves. It was an experiment of sorts, funded by white Americans who foresaw...

Infidel

Rating:   Infidel, by Ayaan Hirsi Ali.  Free Press (2007), 353 pages. In order for me to love a memoir the author must cover the following basics: a great memory for not just the concrete details of life as a small child (if the memoirist has omitted the...

Stitches

Rating:  Stitches:  A Memoir, by David Small. W.W. Norton & Company (2009), 329 pages. This memoir is the biggest surprise of the year for me. I had not intended to read Stitches as I’m not much of a graphic book fan, but the nonstop rave reviews it kept...

The Tender Bar

Rating:  The Tender Bar: A Memoir, by J.R. Moehringer.  Hyperion (2005), 370 pages. Moehringer has proven, in The Tender Bar, that he is that most uncommon of authors—a male memoirist with both full access to his feelings and the ability to write about them....

Leaving Mother Lake

Rating:  Leaving Mother Lake: A Girlhood at the Edge of the World, by Yang Erche Namu and Christine Mathieu. Back Bay Books (2004), 308 pages. Anybody who has fantasized about what life would be like in a completely matriarchal society needs to read this...

When Skateboards Will Be Free

Rating:  When Skateboards Will Be Free: A Memoir of a Political Childhood, by Said Sayrafiezadeh.  The Dial Press (2009), 287 pages. There was a time when I couldn’t get enough of tragic childhood memoirs.  I would be appalled and heartbroken on behalf...

Sickened

Rating:  Sickened: The Memoir of a Munchausen by Proxy Childhood, by Julie Gregory.  Bantam Books (2003), 246 pages. This is the most one-of-a-kind memoir I’ve ever read. It is incomparable in its horror—even within the subcategory of memoirs featuring...

House of Cards

Rating:  House of Cards: Love, Faith and Other Social Expressions, by David Ellis Dickerson.  Riverhead Books (2009), 369 pages. Sadly, I must begin this review with a tirade against the cover art.  There are other things to say, much of them positive, but...

A Wolf at the Table

Rating:  A Wolf at the Table: A Memoir of My Father, by Augusten Burroughs.  St. Martin’s Press (2008), 256 pages. I was wrong about Augusten. He has proven beyond a doubt that he did have another award-winning book in him after all. I had declared him...