Elevate Difference

Reviews tagged memoir

If I Am Missing or Dead: A Sister's Story of Love, Murder, and Liberation

Janine Latus’ bestselling memoir, If I Am Missing or Dead, is remarkable in many ways.

Born in the Big Rains: A Memoir of Somalia and Survival

Born in the Big Rains begins like a beautifully written work of fiction: “In the distance, a lion roared, deep and long, dismissing the night. The air smelled of smoke and freshly brewed tea, and on the horizon the day’s first light chalked the sky.” But the writing’s rich details and driving action belie that this is no tall tale, but the true story of an adolescent girl, named Fadumo Abdi Hersi Farah Husen, who was born to a nomadic family in Somalia.

Poster Child: A Memoir

The memoir these days can be a forum for the expulsion of demons, the settling of a score, or with more frequency, utter fabrication to gussy up one’s adventures. On occasion, however, the memoir can enlighten, help heal wounds, and inspire the reader. Poster Child author Emily Rapp was born with a genetic anomaly that led to her left foot being amputated before the age of four, which led to a life of prosthesis.

Please Excuse My Daughter

This is one of the worst books I have read so far in my life. Its author, Julie Klam, is a definitive “poor little rich girl.” After a strange childhood spent shopping and sunbathing in New York with her wealthy relatives, our protagonist was left with few life skills and low test scores. Her mother often pulled her out of school just to shop at upscale department stores; hence, the origin of the book’s title, Please Excuse My Daughter.

Blue Rage, Black Redemption

In the midst of our current pop culture’s street gang glamorization and mafia worship, the Nobel Prize-nominated work of late Crips gang founder Stanley “Tookie” Williams is a flash of clarity and a voice of reason. Executed in 2005 for the murder of four people, Williams claimed his innocence until the end. Perhaps even more importantly—and certainly the legacy we hope he is remembered for—Williams was believed to have been reformed as he spent much of his sentence in California’s San Quentin prison writing and working on peace plans for our badly torn nation.

Learning to Drive: And Other Life Stories

Aside from the fact that I have two wonderful roommates (one being my male partner) and a massive dog-like cat, I don’t have sleepovers much anymore. I’m a night owl who likes to take walks after midnight and eat in bed, but aside from my usual default companions, the closest thing to a sleepover I’ve had this year was reading Katha Pollitt’s feminist confessions about editing paperback porn, Googling an ex, and ignoring fashion and beauty standards after turning forty. As an admirer of those who confess, I love demolishing formal social boundaries.

Strange Piece of Paradise

When I picked up this memoir in early July, I was expecting to navigate a woman’s difficult journey from surviving a brutal, anonymous trauma into an enlightened state through making peace with the crime scene and its effected community. What I did not anticipate was the systemic analysis of social problems, personal depth and conscious processing that this book contains.

Baby Love: Choosing Motherhood after a Lifetime of Ambivalence

After reading the first few pages of Baby Love in the aisle of a midtown Manhattan Barnes and Noble, I bought a brand new hardcover copy. In recent interviews Walker has said that this is the book she wishes she'd had to read when she was in her twenties. I thank her for writing it.

She's Not the Man I Married: My Life with a Transgender Husband

She’s Not the Man I Married is a smart, in-depth look at being a woman whose husband is transgendered.

Sesame Street Dad: Evolution of an Actor

Ever since I can remember, I have loved Sesame Street. The muppet characters entertained and educated me as a young child, and the human characters became trustworthy friends and role models.

Deeksha: The Fire from Heaven

Imparting spiritual advice and spreading the message of a new worldwide movement, Deeksha: The Fire from Heaven offers readers a lot of information. In the first third of the book author Kiara Windrider takes readers on the journey of his personal enlightenment.

Kabul in Winter: Life Without Peace in Afghanistan

Usually when I read a memoir, I don’t really expect to learn anything. I might laugh or cry at the writer’s personal tragedies, but my expectations for experiencing some profound level of enlightenment is absent. After reading Kabul in Winter, I will now only read memoirs that are as thoughtfully written, educational and eye-opening as Ann Jones’s account of her time spent in Afghanistan. Even though this book will probably be found in the “Current Events” or “Politics” section of any radical bookstore, Jones’s account of her travels is better written than most memoirs.


This inspirational memoir traces the life of an extraordinary woman. Wangari Maathai was born in 1940 in a small Kikuyu community in Kenya. Throughout the memoir we watch Maathai’s life change and progress alongside Kenyan society. The memoir unfolds with stories of Kikuyu traditions and beliefs as a young Maathai plants crops alongside her mother.

Criminal of Poverty: Growing up Homeless in America

We never hear from the poor. They are simply not represented in public life. Perhaps it is because we don't think they deserve to have a say. After all, one of the strongest myths in American society is that any person can succeed as long as she is willing to work hard and never give up. What I like about Criminal of Poverty is that the writer, Tiny, a.k.a.

Everything I'm Cracked Up To Be

Everything I'm Cracked Up To Be is a rock and roll fairytale. Jen Trynin is trying to find her place in the world of music. Her thirtieth birthday is just around the corner and she wants to be a rock star by then. Sending her tapes out to radio stations and playing in clubs is just the start. After her songs get recognized on the radio she pulls together a band. With a new bass player and drummer her band is complete.

Remembering Tomorrow: From SDS to Life After Capitalism

The past is not dead. In fact, it’s not even past. –William Faulkner Michael Albert writes an in-depth political memoir, offering a formidable defense of the project to change global inequality. Albert is a veteran anti-capitalist and visionary leftist thinker. In his memoir, he retells his past of devotion, commitment and the struggle to bring forth social change, however difficult the journey, a small step at a time. Albert separates his memoir into five intriguing parts. He begins with his college years at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

I Think of You: Stories

The stories in Ahdaf Soueif’s book collectively form the multivoiced memoir of a woman growing up with academic parents in Cairo and in England and on the cultural margins of both places. Her first narrative, “Knowing,” told in the charmingly declarative voice of a child, tells of the wonders of the Cairo marketplace: fingering guavas, nibbling at the sheep head on a snack tray, sneaking a puff on a waterpipe.

Floor Sample: A Creative Memoir

Bestselling author and teacher Julia Cameron, known worldwide for her book The Artist’s Way, finally comes clean and tells all in her new memoir: Floor Sample. And when I say tells all, it’s not a cliché. I must admit when I first picked up this book, I feared I’d somehow lose my champion of creativity. How could she really live up to all she taught? How could she really walk the walk? I feared my mentor’s lessons would lose their impact within the story, behind the story. Floor Sample will not disappoint. Cameron surpasses all of her previous work.

Fierce Attachments: A Memoir

Few books are so gripping that they change your perception of the world around you. Even fewer books make you see your intimate relationships in a whole new light. Because of its bold, honest insights about mothers, daughters and the growing up/growing away process, _Fierce Attachments _made me re-examine my relationship with my own mother.