Memoir

Why I'm Like This: True Stories

By Cynthia Kaplan

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I wonder if there is any way I can tell this story and have it seem like I did it in the name of those dolphins that get caught in the tuna nets.
"Meet Cynthia Kaplan, whose debut collection of personal stories is so much fun to read because of her complete and utter willingness to tell the God's honest truth. And it isn't pretty. Kaplan takes us on a hilarious and sometimes heartbreaking journey through her unique, uncensored world... ."

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The Family on Beartown Road

By Elizabeth Cohen

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Elizabeth, a member of the “sandwich generation”—-those caught in the middle, simultaneously caring for their children and for their aging parents—is the mother of baby Ava and the daughter of Daddy, and responsible for both. In this story full of everyday triumphs, first steps, and an elder’s confusion, Ava finds each new picture, each new word, each new song, something to learn greedily, joyfully. Daddy is a man in his twilight years, for whom time moves slowly and lessons are not learned but quietly, frustratingly forgotten. Elizabeth, a suddenly single mother with a career and a mortgage and a hamperful of laundry, finds her world spiraling out of control. Faced with mounting disasters, she chooses to confront life head-on, and to see the unique beauty in each and every moment.

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Quitting the Nairobi Trio

By Jim Knipfel

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"As his account opens, Knipfel has just failed at yet another frenzied suicide attempt and has been picked up by the police. Soon thereafter he is forced to settle into a hospital psychiatric ward waiting until a doctor, whose once-a-week sessions last ten minutes each, deems him mentally fit to be released. Effectively abandoned, Knipfel begins his self-analysis and embarks on a series of haphazard skirmishes to regain his sanity, make new friends, and devise ways to pass the time.Ultimately, a revelation from public television and insights from a fellow patient and the late comic Ernie Kovacs provide Knipfel with a way out, one that only a paranoid, or Knipfel, could appreciate."

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Prozac Diary

By Lauren Slater

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"Today millions of people take Prozac, but Lauren Slater was one of the first. In this rich and beautifully written memoir, she describes what it's like to spend most of your life feeling crazy--and then to wake up one day and find yourself in the strange state of feeling well. And then to face the challenge of creating a whole new life. Once inhibited, Slater becomes spontaneous. Once terrified of maintaining a job, she accepts a teaching position and ultimately earns several degrees in psychology. Once lonely, she finds love with a man who adores her. Slater is wonderfully thoughtful and articulate about all of these changes, and also about the downside of taking Prozac."

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Passing for Normal: A Memoir of Compulsion

By Amy Wilensky

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What I remember even more distinctly than the incidents of cruelty and confusion, intolerance and avoidance--more vividly than standing in front of the mirror watching my head move with no conscious instruction from me--is the strain of trying to conceal my tics and rituals from others, especially those closest to me, my own family most of all.

The provocative memoir of a young woman's struggle to come to terms with a life plagued by irrational behavior. I am crazy. But maybe I am not. For most of her life, this thought haunted Amy Wilensky as she watched her body do things she couldn't control, repeatedly twitching and contorting into awkward positions. Her mind lurched and veered in ways she didn't understand: She felt that she must touch wood at all times to ward off harm, that chewing a wad of stale gum would prevent a plane crash. Why couldn't she throw away meaningless scraps of paper? Why were six-word sentences strangely satisfying? While Amy excelled in school and led an otherwise 'normal' life, she worried that beneath the surface she was a freak, that there was something irrevocably wrong with her."

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The Liars' Club: A Memoir

By Mary Karr

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"A trenchant memoir of a troubled American childhood from the child's point of view describes growing up in a an East Texas refinery town, life in the midst of a turbulent family of drunks and liars, a schoolyard rape, and other dark secrets."

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The Girl's Guide to Homelessness: A Memoir

By Brianna Karp

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Karp delivers a heartwrenching and darkly funny memoir about her experience becoming homeless after losing her corporate job in the Great Recession.

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The Inextinguishable Symphony: A True Story of Music and Love in Nazi Germany

By Martin Goldsmith

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"Set amid the growing tyranny of Germany's Third Reich, here is the riveting and emotional tale of Gunther Goldschmidt and Rosemarie Gumpert, two courageous Jewish musicians who struggled to perform under unimaginable circumstances--and found themselves falling in love in a country bent on destroying them."

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The Glass Castle: A Memoir

By Jeannette Walls

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"Jeannette Walls grew up with parents whose ideals and stubborn nonconformity were both their curse and their salvation. Rex and Rose Mary Walls had four children. In the beginning, they lived like nomads, moving among Southwest desert towns, camping in the mountains. Rex was a charismatic, brilliant man who, when sober, captured his children's imagination, teaching them physics, geology, and above all, how to embrace life fearlessly. Rose Mary, who painted and wrote and couldn't stand the responsibility of providing for her family, called herself an "excitement addict." Cooking a meal that would be consumed in fifteen minutes had no appeal when she could make a painting that might last forever. Later, when the money ran out, or the romance of the wandering life faded, the Walls retreated to the dismal West Virginia mining town -- and the family -- Rex Walls had done everything he could to escape. He drank. He stole the grocery money and disappeared for days.

"As the dysfunction of the family escalated, Jeannette and her brother and sisters had to fend for themselves, supporting one another as they weathered their parents' betrayals and, finally, found the resources and will to leave home. What is so astonishing about Jeannette Walls is not just that she had the guts and tenacity and intelligence to get out, but that she describes her parents with such deep affection and generosity. Hers is a story of triumph against all odds, but also a tender, moving tale of unconditional love in a family that despite its profound flaws gave her the fiery determination to carve out a successful life on her own terms."

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Once Upon a Time When We Were Colored

By Clifton L. Taulbert

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Clifton Taulbert's loving memoir of life in the colored section of a little Mississippi Delta town has won praise and stirred hearts across the nation, and was turned into a moving and memorable film.

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