By Paula Dennan
Summer and memoirs go hand in hand for me. What better way to spend a lazy afternoon or evening than exploring the lives of others? These are some of the best that I have come across of late and make for the perfect read on endless summer days…
Everything I Know About Love by Dolly Alderton
Everything I Know About Love treats us to a deep-dive into, writer and podcast host, Dolly Alderton’s experiences with romantic love, love in its other forms, drugs and alcohol, growing up or not growing up (as the case may be), finding the right work-life balance and figuring out how to be, well, herself.
It is smart, funny, wise and reading it feels like you’re having the best of late night chats with an old friend.
Places I Stopped on the way Home by Meg Fee
Places I Stopped on the way Home is a collection of essays about Meg Fee’s time in New York and the men who have affected her life; some for the better, some for the worse, but all of them taught her something about herself.
In the age of blogs, social media and the personal essay, Places I Stopped on the way Home gets the balance between personal and private right. It doesn’t feel like oversharing because it isn’t. It is full of beauty, vulnerability, questioning, love, realisation and acceptance.
The Fact of a Body: A Murder and a Memoir by Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich
As a legal intern Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich is tasked with working on the retrial defence of convicted murder and child molester, Ricky Langley. The details of Langley’s life and crimes leave Marzano-Lesnevich confronting issues from her past and questioning her stance on the death penalty.
The Fact of a Body is not an easy read, subject wise, but Marzano-Lesnevich handles it with care, courage, frankness and a quietness that will stay with you long after you’ve turned the final page.
The Girl Who Smiled Beads by Clemantine Wamariya
Clemantine Wamariya was six years old when she fled the Rwandan genocide with her 15-year-old sister, Clare. When Clemantine was 12, she and her sister were granted asylum in the United States. In 2006, Clemantine and Clare were reunited with their parents on the Oprah Winfrey show.
The Girl Who Smiled Beads is a devastating, yet hopeful, look at what it means to be a refugee, the power of education and what happened once the Oprah cameras stopped rolling.
Educated by Tara Westover
Tara Westover grew up on a mountain with a father preparing for the End of Days, a mother who values tinctures and herbs above medicine and her siblings, one of whom became increasingly abusive, both emotionally and physically. Receiving no education and not having a birth cert meant that, as far as the state was concerned, Westover didn’t exist; until she decided to go to college.
Educated is a powerful story about accepting and overcoming a traumatic upbringing, finding solace in education and redefining yourself.
So, if you haven’t had the chance to get away on a break this summer and are looking for a little escapism, pick up one of these and fall into an entirely different world for a few hours…