Dreamworld Book Reviews picks most interesting memoirs

  • June 4, 2011
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5 Most Interesting Biographies & Memoirs

I’m a tough crowd when it comes to biographies and memoirs. Unless the books are about people who have the most mind-blowing, fascinating stories to tell, I’m not going to take the time out of my day to read about another “real person’s” life (because seriously, I have my own life to live!). With celebrity biographies, I usually find that either the subjects brag about their walk into fame, or they lament about how fame ruined them (despite the fact I’m reading their biography, which of course is meant to bring them more fame and fortune). 9 times out of 10, I’m usually disappointed in most biographies and memoirs I read.

That said, below I’ve compiled five of the best biographies and memoirs I’ve read in recent years. In addition to being extremely interesting and intriguing, the books are touching, thought-provoking, and inspiring.

1) How to Make Love Like a Porn Star: A Cautionary Tale by Jenna Jameson (2004)

2) Motherland: Beyond the Holocaust: A Mother-Daughter Journey to Reclaim the Past by Fern Schumer Chapman (2001)

Holocaust memoirs can be trying for many reasons; some are either too sad and violent or some cram every memory and historical tidbit about World War II into a gigantic tome that becomes a struggle to read through. Motherland stuck with me because it’s a little bit of everything rolled into one brief (approx 190 pages) yet beautiful and touching personal account. Motherland tells the story of Edith Westerfeld, who escaped from the Holocaust in 1937 (her parents had arranged it before their deaths by the hand of Nazis) and was sent to live with relatives in America who treated her poorly. Edith’s daughter Fern is a journalist who writes a very thorough and factual account of what she witnesses and experiences when she accompanies her mother back to her hometown in Germany to overcome her past. The true fascination of Motherland is not only due to the sadness and intensity of the story itself but also due to Fern’s expertise as a journalist, written in such a way that gives you a full view of how people are affected by the war years later. Prepare for tears when you read this memoir and make sure you keep a box of tissues nearby — it’ll be hard to forget.

3) That’s Not All Folks! My Life in the Golden Age of Cartoons and Radio by Mel Blanc (1988)

4) Me and My Shadows: A Family Memoir: Living with the Legacy of Judy Garland by Lorna Luft (1999)

5) Roasting in Hell’s Kitchen: Temper Tantrums, F Words, and the Pursuit of Perfection by Gordon Ramsey (2006)

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