20 Best Memoirs of 2022

The Year of Magical Thinking is the best grief memoir there is. Didion adapted the book to a Broadway play, and it toured the world in various forms for nearly a decade. One of the most influential — and heartbreaking — memoirs is Joan Didion’s The Year of Magical Thinking. In the span of a week, she watches her daughter fall horribly ill and be put into an induced coma. In the year following, she meditates on grief and the loss of her 40-year relationship. Augusten Burroughs was 12 when his poet mother sent him to live with her psychiatrist.

  • Life doesn’t provide moments of satisfying narrative resolution.
  • Clegg’s manic spiral is related in a relentless present tense, in a prose that’s sparse and detached—and lit up by little flares of lyricism to conjure each hit.
  • The Empathy Exams author’s stunning book juxtaposes her own relationship to addiction with stories of literary legends like Raymond Carver, and imbues it with rich cultural history.
  • I very consciously looked to Karr for inspiration in how to write candidly yet lovingly about an imperfect family.
  • Beyond being informative, this powerful book has helped countless people dive deeper into their relationship with alcohol and make positive changes in their lives.
  • Shortly after accepting she had a problem with alcohol, she thought a lot about how some people are lucky enough to be able to drink normally without it controlling their life.

Mary Karr’s memoir, set in Boston (Cambridge), chronicles her path toward sobriety with crackling honesty and wry humor as she effectively connects her family dynamics as a child living in a chaotic home to her adult state of perpetual chaos. As a mother, I relate to her story so deeply—our children were the same young age when we stopped drinking. She’s an iconic, witty literary voice, an engrossing storyteller, and this book too is a great study in memoir. 20) A Happier Hour by Rebecca Weller
At 39 years of age – and a health coach, no less – Weller knew better than to drink several bottles of wine each week.

Because Our Fathers Lied, by Craig McNamara

All these books might have been published as memoir in a less stigmatising age. In the literature world, you can find books about addiction and recovery in a genre known as “quit lit.” Quit lit is full of authors sharing their personal experiences and resources to help others who are where they’ve been. In her early 20s, writer Jamison best alcoholic memoirs (The Empathy Exams) started drinking daily to ease her chronic shyness and deal with the stress of getting her master’s degree at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. Identifying with accomplished writers whose creativity seemed to thrive in a haze of intoxication, she fell further into the depths of alcoholism before hitting rock bottom.

From painfully honest stories to science-based tips, there’s a title on this list that’s sure to inspire and motivate you or someone in your life. Quit Like a Woman takes a groundbreaking look at America’s obsession with alcohol. Probably the least-known work of the Brontë sisters, by the least-known sister, Anne’s second and last novel was published to great success in 1848. Helen ultimately escapes her marriage and pretends to be a widow, earning a living as an artist to care for herself and her young son. The book was so upsetting to her sister Charlotte that, after Anne’s death she passed on the chance to have it reprinted, and the book was neglected for a really long time.

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I have a master’s in liberal arts and an MFA in Creative Writing. This is one of the best memoirs on alcohol recovery in my opinion. She highlights not only her relationship to alcohol, but also key takeaways from her many attempts to get sober.

best alcoholic memoirs

It’s popularly assigned in English classes and also has been banned several times in schools. Elie Wiesel was a teenager when he and his family were forced to Auschwitz concentration camp. Night is a brutal reminder of what evil looks like — and one of the most influential memoirs of human history. It’s the first in a trilogy, with Dawn and Day following, was translated into 30 languages, and is one of the most iconic works of Holocaust literature. The former was a 2006 Oprah’s Book Club pick, touted as a riveting memoir about the 23-year-old’s life of crime, drug abuse, and rehabilitation.

Incredible Recovery and Sobriety Memoirs I Want Everyone to Read

Beyond the camaraderie of knowing you’re not alone, these books offer practical guidance about the road to sobriety (or your road to changing your relationship with drugs and alcohol). They encourage you to embrace the sober “Irish exit,” leaving the party early to enjoy a starlit stroll home. It includes recipes for zero-proof cocktails for all seasons and has tips for navigating the dating scene while completely sober. If you’re feeling down about “missing out” on life if you cut back on alcohol or got sober, read this book.

best alcoholic memoirs

A year and a half before Schulz’s father dies, she meets the woman who would become her wife. This humane, wondrous rumination on all the people and things we lose, yet unexpected joy seeps in anyway, offers a balm in times of darkness, and a companion in times when we just want to be grateful. This powerful memoir follows Cain’s life as she navigates a substance use disorder, incarceration, and sex work over the course of 19 years. Healing Neen provides a personal look into the connection between incarceration, substance use, and trauma.

Sick: A Memoir by Porochista Khakpour

3
authors picked

Girl Walks Out of a Bar
as one of their favorite books, and they share
why you should read it. 6
authors picked

Drinking
as one of their favorite books, and they share
why you should read it. 1
author picked

I Swear I’ll Make It Up to You
as one of their favorite books, and they share
why you should read it.

best alcoholic memoirs


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