I enjoy reading memoir. It isn't the degree of trauma or drama in someone's life that determines whether a memoir will resonate. It's the voice and the author's narrative skill. Lately, I've been attracted to reinvention or transformation stories, beloved true stories like "Educated" by Tara Westover and Cheryl Strayed's "Wild."
I recently read Meredith Maran's "The New Old Me: My Late-Life Reinvention." Being a woman of a certain age myself, her story of coping with the end of a marriage, moving, taking a new job, and basically having her entire life turned inside out, at sixty, hit many chords. These are life events that happen for many at one point or another, perhaps not all at the same time, as they did for Maran. But it's not uncommon. One huge life event, a death, divorce, loss of a job or home, often triggers a cascade of change. Maran recounts her cascade-of-change stories with a skilled balance of emotion, humor and self-deprecation.
It was her book on writing memoir, "Why We Write," that drew me to this author -- Maran's compilation of insight and encouragement from the top personal writers of our time was a treasure. I enjoyed "The New Old Me" equally, though it's a very different type of book, and will look for more from this author.
Now on my book stand? "Shrill: Notes From A Loud Woman," by Lindy West. West is not of my generation, but as a woman who has struggled with weight and body image issues since before puberty, hers is a story that hits home. Love the TV show too.
I'm always looking for recommendations. What are your favorite memoirs of transformation/reinvention, whether late-life or otherwise?
The New Old Me: My Late-Life Reinvention by Meredith Maran
Shrill: Notes From A Loud Woman, Lindy West
Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail, Cheryl Stayed
Educated: A Memoir, Tara Westover
Dorothy, author of Gray Is The New Black, blogs about the challenges and opportunities of being a woman and a writer of a certain age in a youth-centric universe.