We Hope You Like This Song: An Overly Honest Story about Friendship, Death, and Mix Tapes


Bree Housley - 2012
    Their friendship survived everything from the awkward years of junior high to the transformative upheavals of early adulthood—until, at the young age of 25, Shelly lost her life to complications caused by Preeclampsia.We Hope You Like This Song is a tribute to the ineffable, incomparable bond that we call friendship, and a celebration of living life to the fullest. Housley recounts how she and her sister found a way to keep Shelly’s memory alive—by spending a year doing crazy things that Shelly would have done, like giving Valentines to strangers, singing at a karaoke bar, and letting her boyfriend pick out her outfits for a week. In the process, she paints a vivid, often hilarious, portrait of her fun-loving, social butterfly best friend and the many adventures they had growing up together in '80s and ’90s small-town America. Sweet, poignant, and yet somehow laugh-out-loud funny, We Hope You Like This Song is a touching story of love, loss, and the honoring of a friendship after it’s gone.

Saturday's Child: A Daughter's Memoir


Deborah Burns - 2019
    Married to the son of a renowned Italian family with ties to the underworld, Dorothy fervently eschewed motherhood and domesticity, turning Deborah over to her spinster aunts to raise while she was the star of a vibrant social life. As a child, Deborah revered her charismatic mother, but Dorothy was a woman full of secrets with a troubled past—a mistress of illusion whose love seemed just out of her daughter’s grasp. In vivid, lyrical prose, Saturday’s Child tells the story of Deborah’s eccentric upbringing and her quest in midlife, long after her parents’ death, to uncover the truth about her mother and their complex relationship. No longer under the spell of her maternal goddess, but still caught in a wrenching cycle of love and longing, Deborah must finally confront the reality of her mother’s legacy—and finally claim her own.

The Yogurt Man Cometh


Kevin Revolinski - 2006
    Revolinski relates in candid style his encounters in a foreign culture, all told with an open mind and a sense of humor. An enjoyable read for anyone who has spent time in Turkey or who plans to do so.

121 First Dates: How to Succeed at Online Dating, Fall in Love, and Live Happily Ever After (Really!)


Wendy Newman - 2016
    Part guidebook, part personal tell-all, 121 First Dates chronicles Wendy’s funny, real-life misadventures and the practical wisdom she gained from them. Her dating tales will find you laughing, commiserating, and nodding your head as you learn how to stay in the dating game until you find the right man, just like Wendy did. This book busts myths, answers age-old questions, and examines pitfalls that make you want to give up on dating altogether. Just when you’re about to submit to a lifetime at home with a pint of Haagen-Dazs and sitcom reruns, 121 First Dates will inspire you to keep stepping out. Wendy discusses how to date successfully and efficiently, avoid the most common dating pitfalls, have an amazing first date with anyone, end uncomfortable situations with grace, and much, much more. She offers up realistic Dos and Don’ts as well as tips for making the most of any situation you find yourself in—whether you want to run or you think he’s the one. Brimming with humor, hope, and authenticity, 121 First Dates will give every woman the tools, confidence, and determination to be and stay real when dating. How else will you find the best match for you?

The Alchemy of Loss: A Young Widow's Transformation


Abigail Carter - 2008
    It was my husband Arron telling me that he was at Windows of the World in the World Trade Center. “There’s been a bomb!” he said. I had been preparing my six-year-old daughter for her second day of first grade, balancing my two-year-old son on my hip, and I was distracted. “OK . . .” I managed to say back. It was 8:49 a.m. on September 11, 2001. He never came home.Abigail Carter is smart, funny, perceptive, and bereft. In the eyes of most, herself included, she had it all — a full life with a loving successful husband and two beautiful children. But in a horrifying instant watched by the world, it was gone, and her life and her children’s were changed irreparably. How does one learn to live again after tragedy?The Alchemy of Loss is Abby’s moving story of answering that unimaginable question. Veering away from the trite and pat grief books, which offer one-size-fits-all solutions to this most deeply personal and unique experience, she realizes that each person must forge her own path through grief, and that there are no right answers.Abby’s journey took her six years, in which she turned everything she knew about herself upside down in order to learn to live again. She charts this journey in the year’s most remarkable memoir. The Alchemy of Loss is her gift to us all — reminding us that life throws up roadblocks we can’t anticipate, and that we cannot live well if we live with regrets.

Notes to Boys (And Other Things I Shouldn't Share in Public)


Pamela Ribon - 2013
    Miserably trapped in small town Texas with no invention of the internet in sight, Ribon spent countless hours of her high school years writing letters to her (often unrequited) crushes. The big question is: Why did she always keep a copy for herself? Wince along with Ribon as she tries to understand exactly how she ever thought she'd win a boy's heart by writing him a letter that began: "Share with me your soul," and ends with some remarkably awkward erotica. You'll come for the incredibly bad poetry, you'll stay for the incredibly bad poetry about racism.

Will's Choice: A Suicidal Teen, a Desperate Mother, and a Chronicle of Recovery


Gail Griffith - 2005
    In Will's Choice, his mother, Gail Griffith, tells the story of her family's struggle to renew Will's interest in life and to regain their equilibrium in the aftermath.Griffith intersperses her own finely wrought prose with dozens of letters and journal entries from family and friends, including many from Will himself. A memoir with a social conscience, Will's Choice lays bare the social and political challenges that American families face in combating this most mysterious and stigmatized of illnesses. In Gail Griffith, depressed teens have found themselves a formidable advocate, and in the evocative and fiercely compelling narrative of Will's Choice, we all discover the promise of a second chance.

Confessions of a Mediocre Widow: Or, How I Lost My Husband and My Sanity


Catherine Tidd - 2014
    If I could just figure out how to make that rhyme, it would be the beginning of a great country song. Involuntarily single. That's the true story of where Catherine Tidd found herself just three weeks after turning thirty-one. With three children under six years old, no fix-it skills, no clue how to live life as a widow and coping with grief after the death of her spouse, Catherine couldn't help but be a little exasperated with her dead husband for leaving her to deal with life on her own.Catherine found herself in charge of her life in a way she never wanted to be, in a way that would have most of us reeling and numb. But she soon realized that when you call the shots, you can make pedicures one of the stages of grief--and that moving forward might be more fun in a new sports car. Her honest Confessions of a Mediocre Widow is not your typical book on grief and loss of a spouse, but rather a glimpse into the heartbreaking and sometimes humorous world of a young woman who learns that overcoming grief and healing after loss is possible, and that you can find joy in an unexpected life.Praise for Confessions of a Mediocre Widow : "Heartfelt and surprisingly humorous memoir...an ultimately uplifting story, and thanks to Tidd's keen sense of humor her tale never becomes maudlin...Widowers and other readers will find inspiration and useful advice in her candid story." --Publishers Weekly"This was the only helpful book that I have read about becoming and being a widow. I found myself laughing and listening to Tidd as I would listen to a friend telling her story; she has a voice that is compelling, a story that is real and a book that is an invaluable addition to grief memoirs. " --Bitter/Sweet"With wit and good humor, Tidd looks back on the time immediately following her husband's death with charming self-deprecation at her seeming inability to be a good widow. Through this, she shows readers that there is no "right way" to grieve. " --Library Journal

To the New Owners: A Martha's Vineyard Memoir


Madeleine Blais - 2017
    2.2 miles down a poorly marked, one lane dirt road, the house was better termed a shack—it had no electricity, no modern plumbing, the roof leaked, and mice had invaded the walls. It was perfect. Sitting on Tisbury Great Pond—well-stocked with oysters and crab for foraged dinners—the house faced the ocean and the sky, and though it was eventually replaced by a sturdier structure, the ethos remained the same: no heat, no TV, and no telephone. Instead, there were countless hours at the beach, meals cooked and savored with friends, nights talking under the stars, until at last, the house was sold in 2014.To the New Owners is Madeleine Blais’ charming, evocative memoir of this house, and of the Vineyard itself—from the history of the island and its famous visitors to the ferry, the pie shops, the quirky charms and customs, and the abundant natural beauty. But more than that, this is an elegy for a special place. Many of us have one place that anchors our most powerful memories. For Blais, it was the Vineyard house—a retreat and a dependable pleasure that also measured changes in her family. As children were born and grew up, as loved ones aged and passed away, the house was a constant. And now, the house lives on in the hearts of those who cherished it.

Crazy Loco Love


Victor Villaseñor - 2006
    When Victor Villasenor turned sixteen, his father's gift of a brand-new, turquoise pick-up truck was accompanied by another gift: words of wisdom that would guide him on his path to manhood. "You are a man now," he said, "and to be an hombre, a man must not only know right from wrong, he must also know who he is and who he isn't." In the weeks to come, however, Victor disregards his father's advice. Swayed by his friends' ridicule, he has his new truck painted white to cover the vibrant turquoise, once his favorite color. Soon, he realizes his mistake. "I'd done exactly what my dad had told me not to. I'd listened to other people's opinions instead of listening to what I'd felt inside." So begins this poignant and moving account of Villasenor's coming of age. Growing up on his parents' ranch in North San Diego County, Victor Villasenor's teenage years were marked by a painful quest to find a place for himself in a world he didn't fit into. During his search, Victor wrangles with the usual questions of adolescence: Is it normal to think about sex all the time? Do good girls like sex? Is sex before marriage a sin? But Victor struggles with more than just his burgeoning sexual awareness. The son of a self-made, successful man, he is different from his peers because of his Mexican heritage, and the experiences both subtle and outright discrimination because of this. Raised in a tight-knit, Catholic family, he questions the tenets of his Catholic faith and the restrictions it places on his own developing spirituality. After high school, Victor's quest for "whohe is and who he isn't" takes him to Mexico, where he is shocked to learn that Mexicans--aside from his father--are successful. They are architects, professors, and artists. This incredible revelation allows him to appreciate his own potential and realize his dreams of making a difference in the world through writing. A powerful portrait of a young boy on the path to manhood in the shadow of his influential father, Crazy Loco Love adds a new chapter to the grand tradition of coming-of-age books. Destined to become a classic, this new installment in Villasenor's body of work confirms his place as a leading American writer. Crazy Loco Love will enthrall his many fans and surely win him new ones.

Meeting Mr. Wrong: The Romantic Misadventures of a Southern Belle


Stephanie Snowe - 2009
    I'm twenty-two, divorced, and I have twins. I'm also overweight, unattractive, and have no education to speak of. I'm pretty much not going to bring anything to the table except the fact that I'm pretty nice and won't ask you to pay my bills. Here's my email address. Don't email if you're full of it.'With this ad, Stephanie Snowe relaunches herself into the world of dating. In this real-life account, she discovers that the search for Mr. Right can include a lot of wrong turns. With light-hearted sass, Stephanie introduces us to each Tom, Dick, and Denny, and their neuroses, pets, mullets, lies, and puking.A girl can get discouraged having to deal with dive-bombing birds, first-date proposals, and eavesdropping mothers. Is there a knight in shining armor out there with a higher IQ than his horse? Stephanie hopes so.

Splitting the Difference: A Heart-Shaped Memoir


Tre Miller Rodriguez - 2013
    At 19, her only sibling was killed in a car crash. At 34, she lost her husband to a sudden heart attack. But at 36, her teenage daughter found her on Facebook and began to reshape the course of Tré’s life. The sum of these milestones is Splitting the Difference: A Heart-Shaped Memoir, a nonfiction work that is equal parts inspiring, irreverent and heart-rending.Through sharply immediate prose, Tré unpacks her experience of being young and widowed in New York City: the “dumb sh*% people say”; the “brave face” she wears to work or social events; and the lack of solace in one-night stands.Her perspective only begins shifting when she spontaneously brings Alberto’s ashes on a trip and sets into motion the ritual of spreading him in bodies of water around the world. Traveling to Bucket List destinations like Savannah, Brazil and Cuba, Tré discovers a strategy for facing her roughest days.Alberto’s loss becomes a portal through which Tré views her past and embraces her future: she quits her corporate job, explores her husband’s homeland of Cuba and joyfully reunites with her biological daughter in North Carolina. A deeply moving narrative, Splitting the Difference is written with the “raw-thenticity” of a woman transformed by heartbreak and inspired by love’s legacy.

Telling


Marion Winik - 1994
    Now, in Telling, she takes us on a journey both personal and universal, a tour of the minefield of chance and circumstance that make up a life. Along the way, she offers razor-sharp takes on everything from adolescence in suburban New Jersey ("Yes, I wanted to be a wild teenage rebel, but I wanted to do it with my parents' blessing") to hellish houseguests and bad-news boyfriends; from the joys of breastfeeding in public to the sometimes-salvation of motherhood.Candid, passionate, and breathtakingly funny, Marion Winik maintains an unshaken belief that following one's heart is more important than following the rules -- and a conviction that the secrets we try to hide often contain the deepest truths."A born iconoclast, an aspiring artiste, a feminist vegetarian prodigal daughter, from early youth I considered myself destined to lead a startling life far outside the bounds of convention. I would be famous, dangerous, brilliant and relentlessly cool: a sort of cross between Emma Goldman, Jack Kerouac, and Georgia O'Keeffe.... So where did this station wagon come from?" -- from Telling

The Real Girl Next Door


Denise Richards - 2011
    We’ve read the scandalous headlines, watched her sexy breakout performances in Starship Troopers and Wild Things, and seen her many public faces on her reality television show—the beautiful vixen, the devoted mother, the hard-working entertainer, and the fun-loving friend. But how well do we really know Denise Richards? Like so many small-town girls, she dreamed of making it big in Hollywood. But following a painful, high-profile divorce from Charlie Sheen, she found herself raising their two young daughters alone as her mother was dying of cancer. Denise writes openly and honestly about these experiences and more: she lets you in on her childhood dreams, her fated move to Hollywood with her close-knit family, her rise to fame, the pressures of living in the spotlight, and the controversy surrounding her relationships. Through it all, she managed to keep her sense of humor and optimism. She offers an up-close and personal look at her most intimate battle scars and the lessons she’s learned as she’s healed and grown. Denise’s story will resonate with anyone who has had to look within herself to find strength and courage when life is throwing curveballs. Inspiring and uplifting, raw and revealing, Denise finally lets her fans in on the resilient woman behind the bombshell persona, the person her friends and family already know: The Real Girl Next Door.

From Our House: A Memoir


Lee Martin - 2000
    This candid memoir reveals how Lee grew up to know his father as a harsh, angry man, but underneath it all is the painfully deep, strong current of real love (Reeve Lindbergh, author of Under a Wing).