While there have been many memoirs written about grieving (from Isabel Allende’s Paula, about the loss of her daughter, to Joan Didion’s Year of Magical Thinking, detailing her story of widowhood), Meghan O’Rourke’s book is notable in that it tells the story of an adult child losing a parent. O’Rourke was in her late 20s when her mother died of cancer. The Long Goodbye is her story of grief and longing. It details the complexity and sharp edges that exist between mothers and daughters, but it also speaks of an American family and the joys and thrills that exist in everyday life. I loved this memoir for its layered simplicity—the ways that loss, love, pretense, and discovery weave together. O’Rourke offers us a real look at the complicated, and in this case, everlasting, mother–daughter bond.
I love that the subtitle of this book is “The Story,” because that’s really how this book reads. David Maraniss has written a thorough, lyrical, and very literary biography of our 44th president, a book that includes hundreds of interviews (including some with the president himself), as well as letters, journals, and other documents. The result is a fascinating, un-put-downable narrative that circles the globe and lands in the White House.
Pakistan-born Ahmad grew up in England embracing debonair dressing, the British concept of justice, and the Jaguar XJS. A schoolmate’s efforts at conversion led him to investigate his faith. Both deliciously funny and deeply insightful, The Perfect Gentleman is Ahmad’s beguiling memoir detailing his struggle between his Islamic identity and his desire to embrace the West, his lifelong struggle against corruption and injustice, and his grappling with some of life’s most profound questions.
In 2011, one young man stood up and told the Iowa House of Representatives that having two moms had not damaged his character. A video of the eloquent message instantly went viral. This is his story of life with two moms and the struggle of growing up different. It is a timely, moving story that serves as testimony to all that strength, love, and character matter more than conformity or tradition.