Nine Women and Their Memoirs You Must Read

Sheena Joseph | May 17 2021
Image credits: BP Creation

Memoirs are known for offering a peek into an author's life. They are intimate and vulnerable experiences. They tell you not only about the author but the path they followed in their life, and the circumstances that shaped them. This is why they often end up being bestsellers. Memoirs written by popular women can not only entertain you but inspire you to chase an extraordinary life for yourself. Here are some such memoirs.

1) Jane Fonda

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Actress and environmentalist Jane Fonda has been in the middle of a lot of controversies due to her political activism. She was effectively blacklisted in Hollywood during the 1970s for her participation in the protests against the Vietnam War. She published her memoir 'My Life So Far' in 2005 in which she divided her life into three acts, each three-decades-long. Critics at The Washington Post called the book as beguiling and as maddening as Jane Fonda herself". The autobiography is known for not only her candor but her experiences with which a lot of women and men related alike.

2) Mindy Kaling

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Indian descent Mindy Kaling is one of the few actors who made it in Hollywood. She is most popular for breaking stereotypes regarding body image and beauty. After gaining recognition with the NBC sitcom 'The Office', she turned creator and producer for 'The Mindy Project', in which she also played the lead role. She wrote two memoirs - 'Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns)' and 'Why Not Me?'. Both of them reached The New York Times Best Seller list. Her first memoir is a collection of essays in which she shares observations about Hollywood, love, friendship, dieting, and her relationship with her mother.

3) Hillary Clinton

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Hillary Clinton is known for her work with children and being the First Lady of the United States. Her memoir, however, is about the days in which she came close to becoming the president of the United States. 'What Happened' is an account of Clinton's experiences as the presidential candidate of the Democratic Party in 2016. It takes the reader through the turbulent days of the first female presidential candidate from a major party in US history. Clinton's other memoirs are 'Living History' and 'Hard Choices'.

4) Amanda Beard

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Amanda Beard is a seven-time Olympic swimming medalist. The 39-year-old American swimmer has won 21 medals in major international competitions including the World Championships, the Pan Pacific Championships, and the Summer Universiade. In her book, 'In the Water They Can't See You Cry: A Memoir' she spoke of her struggles with body dysmorphia, perfectionist nature, depression, and self-mutilation. Amanda has said that posing in a swimsuit and the photoshopping process that goes into the photo before publishing pushed her to want a body that matched her photos. "I wanted to be a great swimmer, but more than that, I wanted to be pretty, skinny, and perfect". She had modelled for FHM, Playboy, and Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition.

5) Janice Dickinson

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Janice Dickinson is known for controversially calling herself the "first supermodel". She is one of the most successful models of the 1970s and 1980s. She continued to have a busy career in TV reality shows. Initially, she was rejected by many in the American fashion industry calling her "too ethnic" due to her Polish, Scottish, Irish looks. She has written three memoirs - 'No Lifeguard on Duty: The Accidental Life of the World's First Supermodel' (about her modelling days), Everything About Me is Fake… And I'm Perfect (about her experience with plastic surgery and eating disorders), and Check Please! Dating, Mating, and Extricating (about her love life).

6) Baby Kamble

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Baby Kamble is known for writing 'The Prisons We Broke' on the lives of the Mahar society in Maharashtra. The Mahar community converted to Buddhism in the 20th century after following revolutionary B.R. Ambedkar. She is the first Dalit woman to write an autobiography. Translated by Maya Pandit, the memoir offers insight into the oppressive caste and a movement fueled by awareness. The book is praised for not succumbing to self-pity and celebrating the raw traditions of the Mahar community.

7) Misty Copeland

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Misty Copeland is known for being one of the three leading classical ballet companies in the US. She is the first African-American woman to be promoted to principal dancer in the 75-year history of American Ballet Theatre. She rose to stardom and became an award-winning dancer by the age of 15, despite not starting ballet until the age of 13. Her ballet teachers and her mother fought a custody battle over her. She later became a Broadway performer, contemporary dancer, and public speaker later in her life. She wrote two autobiographical books: 'A Ballerina's Tale' and 'Life in Motion: An Unlikely Ballerina'.

8) Taylor Armstrong

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Taylor Armstrong is known for starring in the first three seasons of 'The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills'. During her appearance on TV, rumours of domestic violence and financial issues. It was later confirmed that her husband Russel Armstrong was physically and emotionally abusing her. After the second season, she filed for divorce, and soon after that, her husband committed suicide. Following the tragic incident, she left the reality show due to the media frenzy. In 2012, Taylor published her memoir 'Hiding from Reality: My Story of Love, Loss, and Finding the Courage Within'.

9) Maya Shanbhag Lang


Maya Shanbhag Lang's recent memoir explores her relationship with her mother. The book was praised for revealing the dark side of the relationship and pressures a new mother comes under from her own family. 'What We Carry' starts with Lang, the daughter of Indian immigrants to the US. It begins with a conversation between Lang and her own mother. She explores the lessons learnt from age-old narratives handed down through generations. The memoir is anything but subtle. She does not hesitate to expose her mother's desire to prompt her to behave in a socially acceptable manner even when Lang is suffering from postpartum depression. The reader can taste the detestation of a woman with internalised misogyny.