The Most Popular Memoirs on Passerbuys
There is no one way to a perfect career or personal life. It takes time and information to fully understand that we are not alone, and memoirs help bring to light other people's journeys in order to help ourselves realize this. At some point, Joan Didion and Patti Smith were not the women we all recognize today. Their memoirs remind women that there is struggle and triumph in real life circumstances. Reading about a certain period of their lives can help bring ourselves out of a rut we may be in. The most popular and recommended memoirs on Passerbuys all have this in common.
The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion
Recommended by ellis jones, shawana grosvenor, gia salvaggio, heba kadry, jessica comingore, ivy weinglass, nicole steriovski, and maura walters
This classic by Joan Didion is the most popular and recommended memoir on Passerbuys. The Year of Magical Thinking documents Didion's heartbreaking and honest year grappling with family and marriage. Speaking to Didion's emotion, music editor Lauren Nostro says, "As for...Joan Didion, I like to make myself cry."
Just Kids by Patti Smith
Recommended by allie berman, ellis jones, gabrielle herbst, rachel cabitt, rawan rihani, natalie pace, clémence vazard, sara radin, and sam tarter
Designer Sam Tarter says of the book, "Patti Smith’s Just Kids, romanticized New York in the 1960s-1970s. It gives a strange appeal to the rough life of a starving artist in love and trying to make it in a place where no one owes you anything, all by being none other than herself. This book opened my eyes to a different time, packed with rockstars, artists & poets. I would recommend it to anyone."
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The Rules Do Not Apply by Ariel Levy
Recommended by molly young, susan alexandra, kalen kaminski, erin allweiss, and natalie pace
When Ariel Levy left for a reporting trip to Mongolia in 2012, she was pregnant, married, financially secure, and successful on her own terms. A month later, none of that was true. A moving memoir of the adventure and heartbreak of being. Natalie Pace of West Elm wrote, "I also just finished the book, The Rules Do Not Apply, which has easily become one of my favorite books. It’s a memoir of Ariel’s life in New York and how she bent the rules to live the life she wanted."
Fierce Attachments by Vivian Gornick
Recommended by Dana Bodourov, Kaye Blegvad, Fariha Róisín, and Mimi Packer
Illustrator Kaye Blegvad writes in her feature, "I only discovered Gornick’s work this year, and it’s completely blown my mind. This book is non-linear, riveting memoir, focussing mainly on her relationship with her mother. It also deals with her relationships to men, to other women, femininity in general, work, and the world. I love reading her almost stream-of-consciousness writing, and I relate to a lot of it, stronger than I’ve related to much writing before."
Letters To A Young Poet by Rainer Maria Rilke
recommended by kyla marshell, bianca valle, and maura walters
In a series of letters to a young soldier who aspires to be a writer, renowned poet Rainer Maria Rilke shares his life along with lessons for anyone seeking to be creative. Writer Kyla Marshell says of the book, "It is my personal secular art bible. It’s gotten me through some very tough times, when I felt lost, confused, or alone. Rilke wrote, 'Do not now seek the answers, which cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them.' I’ve been slowly embroidering that quotation onto a ribbon as well."
Words by Jessica Joyce Jacolbe