For the record
The latest crop of memoirs will have you either laughing out loud or shedding tears of compassion.
Why Not Me? by Mindy Kaling
Kaling wears many hats: actress, writer, producer, director, McDonald’s enthusiast. Her new book – a follow-up to 2011’s Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns) – discusses them in detail, in addition to being laugh-out-loud funny. Fans of her series The Mindy Project or her role as Kelly Kapoor )”one of the few people who looks hot eating a cupcake”) on The Office will appreciate the behind the scenes insight into her inconceivably busy life, while newcomers will wonder what they have been missing out on this whole time. Her ongoing journey to find contentment and excitement in her adult life is inspiring, while her tales about falling in love at work, seeking new friendships in lonely places, or attempting to be the first person in history to lose weight without any behavior modification whatsoever are heartwarmingly funny.
Hunger Makes Me A Modern Girl by Carrie Brownstein
As a member of punk-rock band Sleater-Kinney, Brownstein has been dubbed one of the most underrated guitarists of all time – she was the only woman to earn a spot on Rolling Stone readers’ list of the “25 most underrated guitarists of all time”, while the three-piece group she was a part of has been called “the greatest rock band in the world”. TV buffs might recognize her from Portlandia – the sketch comedy show she created with SNL alumnus Fred Armisen (just renewed for seasons six and seven) and Transparent, but you don’t have to listen to her music of watch her shows to appreciate her girl power story. This book intimately captures what it feels like to be a young woman in a rock’n’roll band, from her days at the dawn of the underground feminist punk-rock movement through today.
Home Is Burning by Dan Marshall
Recent college graduate Marshall suddenly finds himself moving back into his parents’ basement when his mother faces a cancer relapse and his father is diagnosed with neurodegenerative disease ALS. This heart-wrenching memoir, sprinkled with David Sedaris-type wit, charts the lives of Marshall and his four flamboyant siblings as they form “Team Terminal”. As Dan steps into his role as a caregiver, wheelchair wrangler, and sibling referee, he watches pieces of his previous life slip away, and comes to realize that you don’t get to choose when it’s time to grow up. It has only hit shelves for a couple of months, but the film rights have already been snapped up, with Whiplash star Miles Teller set to play the lead.
Furiously Happy by Jenny Lawson
Hands on the most real, and least cringe-worthy “mommy blogger” you will ever click on, Lawson is a wickedly hilarious human as well (award-winning author and journalist Caitlin Moran loves her). She also suffers from rheumatoid arthritis, OCD, ADD, depression and anxiety. Her new book examines those mental and physical illnesses with sharp wit and a touch of depravity – the mother of one’s philosophy being that manic happiness can save your life and that embracing joy in fantastic and outrageous ways is the key to personal fulfillment through hardships. Who doesn’t need a bit more of that?
Girl In The Woods by Aspen Matis
Small town girl Matis’ college experience ground to a halt when she was raped by a fellow student during her second night on campus. The school’s, and her parents’, reactions were disappointing and dismissive. So, one semester in, Matis left college to walk 4,265 kilometers from Mexico to Canada on the Pacific Crest Trail. Her memoir chronicles this epic five-month journey, confronting her trauma, the desolate landscape and its most dangerous inhabitants. Exhausted after each thirty-mile day, at times on the verge of starvation, Aspen was forced to confront her numbness, coming to terms with the sexual assault and her parents’ disappointing reaction. Told with elegance and suspense, this is a beautifully rendered story of eroding emotional and physical boundaries to reveal the truths that lie beyond the edges of the map. Lena Dunham called it “beautiful and so wildly engaging”.