By Sam Allen
Celeb memoirs can be dishy and fun or free and easy. Just barely scratch the surface of many, though, and you’ll be transported to worlds that are strangely similar to your own—difficult childhoods, lovers lost, and ordinary people overcoming the odds set against them, one step at a time.
While celebrity memoirs can be extremely enjoyable reads, here are a few that offer an “Aha!” factor that will keep you turning—not flipping—through each page. Some are by folks in the spotlight, and others are by lesser-known celebs whose day in the limelight is coming soon. Read them, relate to them, and inspire yourself to defy the odds too!
I Am Here: A Journey from Fear to Freedom by Ashley LeMieux
Troubled pasts create compelling stories, particularly when those difficult backgrounds lead toward success and happiness. This is especially true for Ashley LeMieux, a social media influencer and The Shine Project founder, which is based on LeMieux’s belief that everyone is born to shine. I Am Here: A Journey from Fear to Freedom is the follow-up to her best-selling Born to Shine: Practical Tools to Help You SHINE, Even in Life’s Darkest Moments.
In it, LeMieux picks up where she left off in Born to Shine, charting her course from hurt to healing and weaving the stories behind how she identified some of the techniques that she now teaches to women through the Shine Project. Expect empowering language and a moving but readable tale of her journey to own and claim her life—available May 4, 2021.
Notes on Grief by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
It seems that EVERYONE has been touched by the COVID-19 pandemic, but it could be argued that some have been impacted more than others. Celebrity and critically-acclaimed author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, best-known for her debut novel Americanah, is one of those people who has been affected profoundly by COVID-19.
In Notes on Grief, Adichie recounts how her father died from kidney failure in the midst of a shelter-in-place order. He had been embracing the new way of life and enjoyed daily facetime sessions with his children from his home in Abba, Nigeria.
Adichie penned an essay in The New Yorker after losing her father, and this booklet is an expansion of that piece. Judging from her previous work, expect moving writing on grief and hope that will transport you into her father’s world—and perhaps his heart.
Broken Horses: A Memoir by Brandi Carlile
Brandi Carlile is a critic’s-favourite songwriter who writes country ballads that are at once melancholy, hopeful, and magical. Best known for “The Story,” a tender love song from a first-person perspective, Carlile has steadily achieved fame alongside many accolades over the last decade or so.
Broken Horses: A Memoir seems similarly far-reaching—detailing Carlile’s upbringing in the suburbs of Seattle, her big break, her family life with her wife and two children, and the collaborations she’s done with the likes of Dolly Parton and Pearl Jam. Throughout it all, the reader is likely to be moved by her candour and pleased by her complex wordsmithing—available April 6, 2021.
Black Boy Out of Time: A Memoir by Hari Ziyad
Award-winning journalist Hari Ziyad is Editor-in-Chief of RaceBaitr, an independent platform whose mission is creating a world without racism. Ziyad comes from an intriguing family—their (they use they/them pronouns) mom is a Hare Krishna follower, and their father is a Muslim. But the most interesting thing about Hari is their journey as a black queer kid from Cleaveland, Ohio to New York City and beyond.
In their book, Black Boy Out of Time: A Memoir, expect Ziyad’s incisive observations about how American kids of colour are underestimated, the fragile trust that transcends generations, and their deep compassion for all of the marginalised people around the world. This undoubtedly captivating memoir is available from March 1, 2021.
Beautiful Things: A Memoir by Hunter Biden
A celebration of resilience, Beautiful Things: A Memoir is the product of a childhood touched by tragedy. When he was only two years old, Hunter Biden, the son of President Joe Biden, was in a car accident that killed his mother and sister. Decades later, he’d lose his brother Beau to brain cancer.
Throughout it all, Biden has struggled—and triumphed over—his inner demons, including addiction and accusations of corruption, to forge a life for himself and his five children. Expect a hopeful ending, as well as a glimpse into the love of the tight-knit Biden clan. Sure to be a gripping read, Biden’s memoir will be available from April 6, 2021.
So many stories are universal. Hopefully, some of the author-celebrities on this list will touch your heart and make you think about your own struggles and triumphs—all the while fantasising about what it’s actually like to work with Pearl Jam and Dolly Parton!