Hi bookish friends!
Do you enjoy reading celebrity books? Personally I’m a little skeptical when it comes to picking up books like these. I know most of them have people helping them write their stories, but I still keep my expectations low when I decide to pick them. I think it’s because most of the time I’m left disappointed… but other times I’m impressed.
I really like reading about other people’s lives because there is so much we can learn from each other. People can be very inspiring when they tell their own stories and send a message with their words. And that is why today I’m bringing you five recommendations of memoirs from famous people that I actually enjoyed and took something from.
So let’s get into these book recommendations! Here are some of my favorites and why I loved them so much:
1. Becoming by Michelle Obama
Starting out strong with Becoming by Michelle Obama! I read this a few years ago and I was a big fan of the book.
It doesn’t matter what your political views are – this is not a political book. It’s a book about a woman, her childhood, her education, her family, growing up and helping others – becoming. I respect Michelle Obama very much! This is a very honest and inspirational biography in my opinion. I listened to the audiobook version and I’m glad Michelle is the narrator of her own story!
Not gonna lie, I was a little intimidated by how bulky the book is. But I still decided to read it and I’m very glad I did. Don’t be intimidated by the book’s size, it’s definitely worth checking out!
In a life filled with meaning and accomplishment, Michelle Obama has emerged as one of the most iconic and compelling women of our era. As First Lady of the United States of America—the first African American to serve in that role—she helped create the most welcoming and inclusive White House in history, while also establishing herself as a powerful advocate for women and girls in the U.S. and around the world, dramatically changing the ways that families pursue healthier and more active lives, and standing with her husband as he led America through some of its most harrowing moments. Along the way, she showed us a few dance moves, crushed Carpool Karaoke, and raised two down-to-earth daughters under an unforgiving media glare.
In her memoir, a work of deep reflection and mesmerizing storytelling, Michelle Obama invites readers into her world, chronicling the experiences that have shaped her—from her childhood on the South Side of Chicago to her years as an executive balancing the demands of motherhood and work, to her time spent at the world’s most famous address. With unerring honesty and lively wit, she describes her triumphs and her disappointments, both public and private, telling her full story as she has lived it—in her own words and on her own terms. Warm, wise, and revelatory, Becoming is the deeply personal reckoning of a woman of soul and substance who has steadily defied expectations—and whose story inspires us to do the same.
2. Born a Crime by Trevor Noah
Another book I picked randomly but ended up loving was “Born a Crime” by Trevor Noah. Just like what happened with Jimmy O. Yang’s book (you’ll see below), I didn’t know a lot about Trevor so I also went blindly into his book.
What made me really like this book was what he shared about his youth in South Africa and his mother. The experiences he had while growing up were very interesting and I learned a lot about appartheids and what is like living in South Africa. Also, his mom is a badass, but you definitely need to read it to know what I’m talking about!
I also highly recommend the audiobook version.Trevor is the narrator and he added a very personal touch to the story. Definitely worth your time!
The memoir of one man’s coming-of-age, set during the twilight of apartheid and the tumultuous days of freedom that followed.
Trevor Noah’s unlikely path from apartheid South Africa to the desk of The Daily Show began with a criminal act: his birth. Trevor was born to a white Swiss father and a black Xhosa mother at a time when such a union was punishable by five years in prison. Living proof of his parents’ indiscretion, Trevor was kept mostly indoors for the earliest years of his life, bound by the extreme and often absurd measures his mother took to hide him from a government that could, at any moment, steal him away. Finally liberated by the end of South Africa’s tyrannical white rule, Trevor and his mother set forth on a grand adventure, living openly and freely and embracing the opportunities won by a centuries-long struggle.
Born a Crime is the story of a mischievous young boy who grows into a restless young man as he struggles to find himself in a world where he was never supposed to exist. It is also the story of that young man’s relationship with his fearless, rebellious, and fervently religious mother—his teammate, a woman determined to save her son from the cycle of poverty, violence, and abuse that would ultimately threaten her own life.
3. Meaning of Mariah Carey by Mariah Carey
The reason why I decided to pick up this book was a weird one. I was never a big fan of Mariah Carey (for different reasons), but my mother is a huge fan of hers. So when I saw she had a memoir I decided to read it, just to understand her life a little better. It’s funny to see how it became one of my favorite memoirs I’ve read!
She had a rough upbringing and she had a very hard time dealing with racism. Her relationship with her family was very bad and to top it all off: she was in an abusive and manipulative marriage. Needless to say that she went through a lot!
I wouldn’t say her story is the most inspiring story ever, but I really liked to read about her life experiences and it made me understand her better. I would say to give this one a try!
It took me a lifetime to have the courage and the clarity to write my memoir. I want to tell the story of the moments – the ups and downs, the triumphs and traumas, the debacles and the dreams, that contributed to the person I am today. Though there have been countless stories about me throughout my career and very public personal life, it’s been impossible to communicate the complexities and depths of my experience in any single magazine article or a ten-minute television interview. And even then, my words were filtered through someone else’s lens, largely satisfying someone else’s assignment to define me.
This book is composed of my memories, my mishaps, my struggles, my survival and my songs. Unfiltered. I went deep into my childhood and gave the scared little girl inside of me a big voice. I let the abandoned and ambitious adolescent have her say, and the betrayed and triumphant woman I became tell her side.
Writing this memoir was incredibly hard, humbling and healing. My sincere hope is that you are moved to a new understanding, not only about me, but also about the resilience of the human spirit.
4. I’m Glad My Mom Died by Jennette McCurdy
This was a very pleasant surprise as well, and one I would definitely recommend to other memoir lovers! It’s one of the best books I’ve read in 2022 – so that’s saying a lot! Like everyone else who came across this book, I was hooked by the title. “I’m Glad My Mom Died”? That sounds very scandalous… and intriguing!This is Jennette McCurdy’s memoir, and trust me: it’s a good one. I watched iCarly occasionally (not religiously), so I was already familiar with Jennette’s work as an actress, but I would have never in a million years guessed what was behind her success. This is a very personal memoir, but mostly – it’s an important one. This is just a real life example of what so many child actors go through growing up. They frequently are abused and exploited by parents and people in the business, and they’re scarred for life – just like Jennette was. I highly recommend this, it’s a very impactful and tough book to read.
A heartbreaking and hilarious memoir by Jennette McCurdy about her struggles as a former child actor—including eating disorders, addiction, and a complicated relationship with her overbearing mother—and how she retook control of her life.
Jennette McCurdy was six years old when she had her first acting audition. Her mother’s dream was for her only daughter to become a star, and Jennette would do anything to make her mother happy. So she went along with what Mom called “calorie restriction,” eating little and weighing herself five times a day. She endured extensive at-home makeovers while Mom chided, “Your eyelashes are invisible, okay? You think Dakota Fanning doesn’t tint hers?” She was even showered by Mom until age sixteen while sharing her diaries, email, and all her income.
In I’m Glad My Mom Died, Jennette recounts all this in unflinching detail—just as she chronicles what happens when the dream finally comes true. Cast in a new Nickelodeon series called iCarly, she is thrust into fame. Though Mom is ecstatic, emailing fan club moderators and getting on a first-name basis with the paparazzi (“Hi Gale!”), Jennette is riddled with anxiety, shame, and self-loathing, which manifest into eating disorders, addiction, and a series of unhealthy relationships. These issues only get worse when, soon after taking the lead in the iCarly spinoff Sam & Cat alongside Ariana Grande, her mother dies of cancer. Finally, after discovering therapy and quitting acting, Jennette embarks on recovery and decides for the first time in her life what she really wants.
Told with refreshing candor and dark humor, I’m Glad My Mom Died is an inspiring story of resilience, independence, and the joy of shampooing your own hair.
5. How to American by Jimmy O. Yang
This was my most recent memoir read and it was very surprising. I haven’t watched “Silicon Valley” and I wasn’t familiar with Jimmy O. Yang and his work as a comedian/actor, so I went into this book without knowing anything about the author. And now I’m glad to say I’ve become a fan!
What I liked so much about this book was how he shared his struggles as an immigrant from China to the USA. It was not easy for him to fit in and constantly being mocked for his accent and not understanding English, and yet, he was able to overcome his struggles and became very successful as an actor and comedian.
I was very inspired not only by his story but also for his positive attitude towards life. It’s an inspiring book that I will always recommend to others. Oh, and the best part? He’s very funny and has great comedic timing!
Standup comic, actor and fan favorite from HBO’s Silicon Valley and the film Crazy Rich Asians shares his memoir of growing up as a Chinese immigrant in California and making it in Hollywood.
“I turned down a job in finance to pursue a career in stand-up comedy. My dad thought I was crazy. But I figured it was better to disappoint my parents for a few years than to disappoint myself for the rest of my life. I had to disappoint them in order to pursue what I loved. That was the only way to have my Chinese turnip cake and eat an American apple pie too.”
Jimmy O. Yang is a standup comedian, film and TV actor and fan favorite as the character Jian Yang from the popular HBO series Silicon Valley. In How to American, he shares his story of growing up as a Chinese immigrant who pursued a Hollywood career against the wishes of his parents: Yang arrived in Los Angeles from Hong Kong at age 13, learned English by watching BET RapCity for three hours a day, and worked as a strip club DJ while pursuing his comedy career. He chronicles a near deportation episode during a college trip Tijuana to finally becoming a proud US citizen ten years later. Featuring those and many other hilarious stories, while sharing some hard-earned lessons, How to American mocks stereotypes while offering tongue in cheek advice on pursuing the American dreams of fame, fortune, and strippers.
And there you have it: five of my favorite memoirs of all time! I found every single one of these very inspirational and I always recommend them to every reader I know. Every celebrity featured in this post had (very different) struggles that they were able to overcome, and I think that’s why their books were so inspiring and impactful to me.
Let me know if you have read any of these and what were your thoughts on them. If you have any recs for me, let me know in the comments – I would appreciate it very much!
Once again, thank you for taking the time to read this post. I hope you liked what I had to share with you today. I’ll see you in the next one!