Some New Trend

List Wednesdays :: Elisa Picks Screwed Up Memoirs by Kevin Wilder

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Today’s list comes from our friend Elisa Munoz. Elisa is an Assistant Buyer for Fiction, YA, and Childrens books at a major bookseller based in Birmingham. She blogs at Bike Skirt along with Anna from last week’s list, and is another leader behind the exciting non-profit BiciCoop (shop is now open—speaking of, we’re trying to get Alan to give us a list next to complete the trilogy). Thanks, Elisa!


Memoirs of REALLY Screwed Up People and/or Families!

1.  Running with Scissors: Augusten Burroughs.  Wow.  Possibly the most screwed up family…EVER.  (see also Dry)

2.  Postcards from the Edge: Carrie Fisher.  This chick had issues.  If she wasn’t famous, she would just be…another girl with major issues.  Relationship issues, substance abuse, all of it. 

3.  Liars Club: Mary Karr.  More of a messed up family situation.  Southerners seem to have a special kind of dysfunctionality.  Which I love.

4.  Dry: Augusten Burroughs.  This time he took on his alchoholism, which is a to be expected consequence of his Running With Scissors childhood. Who wouldn’t drink with a mother like that (and let’s not even talk about his father…he does that in A Wolf at the Table)

5.  On the Road: Jack Kerouac.  Not much about his childhood, but one screwed up trip across America.  sex, drugs, rock and roll, poetry and general wandering.  Took the Road Trip to another level and made everyone want to take off with only a bag and few bucks. 

6.  A Complicated Kindness: Mirian Towes.  Ok, this is fiction.  However, it is so well written and developed that it read as a memoir.  Plus, this is my list and I want to include it!

7.  Cracker QueenStories of a Jagged, Joyful Life: Lauretta Hannon.  A new book that I just loved.  Another Southern family with issues.  I had dinner with Lauretta last week and y’all, she is endearing.  A real person with real crap who has made beauty out of it.  Oh, and she is hilarious.  

8.  Dreamseller: Brandon Novak.  Skateboarder gone bad.  I love stories about drug addicts (don’t ask), and this one did not disappoint.  Skated with Tony Hawk, then ended up addicted to Smack.  Can you imagine an intervention with Bam Margera and Tony Hawk?  It happened.  

9.  The Basketball Diaries: Jim Carroll.  Another athlete on drugs story.  This one is probably the most raw drug memoir I have ever read.  If you want to cheat you can watch the movie with Leonardo DiCaprio, but you are doing yourself a disservice (besides, who is cute when they are strung out?).

10.  A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius: Dave Eggers.  Story of raising his brother after his parents death.  As a big sister to 3 siblings, I can’t imagine this.  Eggers tells it with candor and unflinching honesty.  I ate it up.  

Honorable mention: Lucky by Alice Sebold, The Color of Water by James McBride,  The Corner by Simon and Burns

So, whenever you are feeling especially screwed up, pick up one of these and feel better.  Much better than watching VH1 or E!. Trust me.  


2 Comments so far
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I would argue that the family in The Glass Castle, by Jeannette Walls is more screwed up than the Running with Scissor’s family. DHR’s worst nightmare!

Comment by Leah

I would argue that the family in The Glass Castle, by Jeannette Walls is more screwed up than the Running with Scissors family. DHR’s worst nightmare!

Comment by Leah

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