My Favourite Autobiographies

I love autobiographes. They give an insight into an individuals life with so many interesting stories about their life experiences which can teach you many valuable lessons. They can educate, inform, and inspire others. Here are some of my favourites…

1. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou

This book is written beautifully from the voice of a young black child who grew up to be a heroine. She starts with her first memories as young as 5 years old. Reading about the evil racism present in American through a pure innocent child’s perspective is quite frankly eye-opening and sickening, but so necessary. She writes about her personal experiences with racism growing up in a direct and straightforward way. She does not censor out anything. That’s why she became an inspiration to all women all around the world. For the courage and bravery, she possessed to the point that she published this book, despite many (mainly white parents) trying to ban it from institutions, e.g schools. She made sure her truth was heard.

2. Long Walk to Freedom by Nelson Mandela

Mandela’s writing is beautiful and honest. He takes you on the journey of his life from political prisoner to president of South Africa. You can gain a much deeper understanding of Mandela from his early childhood recollections and the struggles he faced growing up. He describes many encounters with people and the influences they had on him. There are some very in-depth descriptions of the individuals that impacted him the most. He gives insights into the injustice government system in the USA and his fight for equality which eventually won him the presidency.

3. Dreams From My Father by Barack Obam

You’ve probably already gathered from the title that this autobiography predominately focuses on Obama’s relationship with his father (or lack of). It starts from his early childhood and describes what life was like growing up in Honolulu, Hawaii. It retells the moment Obama learns that his father has been killed in a car accident. His relationship with his father is pretty much nonexistent and he wants to learn about his fathers’ truth and connects with his African side. He takes us on his journey to search for his identity by travelling to Kenya to meet these family members.

4. The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion

This book speaks to anyone who has lost a loved one in a comforting and inspiring way. After losing her only daughter, who was the centre of her life, Didion decides to write this autobiography with the aim to help others. She’s honest and pure throughout as she too seems to be making sense of her tragic loss. It gives many tips on how to cope and enjoy life again. It will undoubtedly help you manage and come to terms with any grief of losing someone close to you. Something everyone, unfortunately, experiences at some point during their lives.

5. Know My Name: A Memoir by Chanel Miller

This autobiography actually won the winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award! For those who don’t know who Chanel Miller is, she was the woman known to the world as Emily Doe to protect her identity during court proceedings. She released a letter that stunned millions and inspired changes in California law. This came after her brutal rape by Brock Turner who was only sentenced to six months in county jail. This injustice anger people worldwide so it’s interesting to have a deep insight into what the victim has to say. She writes this autobiography because she wants people to know her name and help other victims have the courage to come forward.

6. Open by Andre Agassi

The title that Agassi chooses for his autobiography could not be more true. He gives a brutally honest and open account with details of his life experiences. He doesn’t shy away from any of the bad stuff, such as his drug-taking and bad feelings and thoughts. It’s refreshing to hear someone being so honest and not sugarcoating anything or blames anyone other than himself. He truly takes readers on a very intimate journey to his huge accomplishments despite the struggles he faced.

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