Looking for an inspiring read from unbreakable women? We’ve rounded up a selection of memoirs that will inform, enlighten and inspire. From racism, fear of death, addiction, sexual assault, love, loss and grief, these writers are truly unbreakable. Here is just a small selection of memoirs written by unbreakable women.
Memoirist Erin Khar writes of her years-long addiction to heroin and her road to recovery in Strung Out: One Last Hit and Other Lies That Nearly Killed Me. When she became a mother, she found the strength, self-love and forgiveness to recover. Beautiful and honest, this is a snapshot of the real opioid crisis happening in America today, and Strung Out is a must-read.
Dear Scarlet: The Story of My Postpartum Depression by Teresa Wong
Like many women, Teresa Wong struggled with postpartum depression after her daughter was born. In this heartbreaking yet funny graphic memoir, Wong shares the quiet desperation of PPD and the feelings she experienced including anxiety, inadequacy and loss.
The Body Papers: A Memoir by Grace Talusan
When Grace moves to New England from the Philippines in the ‘70s, abuse, racism and trauma are there to greet her. She has an abusive grandfather and she learns to protect herself with silence but her mental health suffers. When she is older, she understands that her family has always been violent and abusive and not only that, they are prone to cancer. Grace will have a medical crisis and eventually return home to the Philippines to make peace with herself.
Camel Crazy: A Quest for Miracles in the Mysterious World of Camels by Christina Adams
When author Christina Adams discovers that camel milk helps her son’s autism, she begins traveling all around the world to obtain this miraculous elixir. She learns that camels, mischievous and gentle, are highly intelligent and also known for their ancient healing traditions. This is an ode to “camel people” and a unique story filled with adventure, ambition and hope.
How to Survive Death and Other Inconveniences by Sue William Silverman
Author Sue William Silverman was obsessed with death and dread, brought on by a sexual assault she had hidden for years. Because of this, she started to believe that sex and death were connected. Through humor, realism and fantastical speculation, she shares her story about the desire to survive. Through it all, she contemplates “transcendent immortality.”
Welcome to Wherever We Are: A Memoir of Family, Caregiving, and Redemption by Deborah J. Cohan
Cohan’s father was a story of opposites – abusive and controlling and also at times gentle and loving. When he gets sick and she must take care of him, she’s unsure how to manage her emotions. She must let go of her anger in order to help her father and to come to terms with her own grief to begin to heal.
A Fractured Life by Shabnam Samuel
At a young age, Shabnam was abandoned by her parents in India. When she herself becomes a mother, she moves to the U.S. with her son and her husband, even though their marriage is in trouble. She had hoped to have a fresh start in America but it took her 25 years to finally find her place in the world. A story of immigration and purpose, Shabnam found her voice to tell her story.
The Memory Eaters by Elizabeth Kadetsky
As Elizabeth’s mother starts to slide into dementia, she tries to reconstruct the past through photos, newspaper clippings and notebooks her mother kept, hoping to uncover memories. A story about a family’s trauma – divorce, addiction, homelessness, PTSD – The Memory Eaters is lyrical and poignant and takes readers on a “spiraling trip through memory.”
A Certain Loneliness by Sandra Gail Lambert
Lambert was stricken with polio as a child where she moved from braces and crutches to a power wheelchair and loneliness was a constant. But that didn’t stop her from looking for adventure. Lambert will kayak in alligator-infested swamps, obtain drugs from dangerous men, navigate trains, planes and ski lifts. A story of isolation and independence, this memoir-in-essays is both honest and humorous.
Raising a Rare Girl: A Memoir by Heather Lanier
All Heather Lanier wanted was a healthy child, but Fiona was born with Wolf-Hirschhorn syndrome and wasn’t expected to make it to her second birthday. Despite their challenges, mother and daughter spent their days making their lives work, while also confronting society’s cruel assumptions about disabilities. Lanier let go of her perfectionist ideals and changed her beliefs about God, love and being vulnerable as she raises a rare girl.
This Is One Way to Dance: Essays by Sejal Shah
In this memoir of essays, Shah writes about family, language, culture and what it means to be visible. Growing up and living in New York, she experienced racism and segregation, and these essays explore how Shah found her place in the world, going from student to teacher in places that were both foreign and familiar to her.
*Disclosure: The links above are affiliate links. These picks are editorially selected, but if you purchase, She Reads may get something in return. We are a participant in the Bookshop Affiliate Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Bookshop.org while simultaneously supporting local bookstores.