I had a great time making the Three recent mystery reads post, I decided to browse through the books I’ve read and see the three books with a similar genre that I think I should showcase more. I thought memoirs were a good fit, because I really like reading them and I feel like I need to read more. Of course there are the more famous memoirs I’ve read such as I Am Malala or Born a Crime that I could’ve added here, but I figured I’d showcase some lesser known titles. Enjoy!
Picasso: My Grandfather by Marina Picasso
This memoir is written by Marina Picasso, the granddaughter of one of the most famous and well-known artists of the twentieth century. Though only consisting of less than 150 pages, this book packs a punch. We get to know Marina’s relationship with her grandfather, the secret behind the famous painter and how Marina and her family members are in real life.
Memoirs are always very subjective, and this one in particular is cluttered with memories from when Marina was a young child that are of course clouded with judgement and her own personal feelings. From the very beginning we discover Marina’s hatred and dislike for her grandfather, and later on as she grew up we read that her feelings are extremely justified. Pablo Picasso was rich and famous and that fame made him ignorant of his family, especially his son and even more his son’s wife and children. Living in the shadow of a globally distinguished artist such as Picasso really affected Marina and her family members’ mental conditions.
Marina rarely ever actually interacts and meets her grandfather. His exclusivity and his excuse of being “busy with making art” makes her not know her grandfather that much, and as she grew up she tried to be someone who is not just Picasso’s granddaughter, which is of course difficult. There is also the conflict regarding money, and through small snippets of moments written by Marina we find out that they have none because Picasso never gave his family much.
This short but heavy in content book really teaches us about the fact that legends or important people – may be it artists, celebrities, etc – are just human, and that they do have families and people who are affected by their fame, sometimes now positively. It really taught me not to only view an art from its talents and beauty, but also looking at the person behind it. I highly appreciate Marina, how she has evolved to become a wonderful, independent woman despite her hardship in her childhood, and the way she writes her experiences of being Picasso’s granddaughter in a humble yet wonderfully descriptive way.
Read it if you enjoy:
- Picasso’s artwork, or if you are just remotely interested in Picasso as a person
- a short memoir that doesn’t have too flowery writing
- an insight into the dark part of a family
- translated memoirs set in Europe
A Life in Parts by Bryan Cranston
If you know or have watched Bryan Cranston in any small clip you’ll know how brilliantly talented he is in acting. His work in Breaking Bad was what made me notice him in the beginning, and I listened this memoir because of his narration in the sample of the audiobook of what he described as his most emotional scene in his acting career.
In this book Cranston shows his life in parts: he has had different roles in his life, ranging from student, actor, boyfriend, to father and Walter White. From the beginning you get sucked into Cranston’s past, and his ability to write is incredible. I love his way of describing moments, using a unique writing style that is modest but conveys a lot of emotion and really brings you into the moment. It was definitely very engaging and so insightful to his personal life, from not just his career but his life decisions that in the future shaped his overall life.
Basically overall, this was a solid, well-written, very well-crafted and engrossing memoir. If you are even remotely interested in Bryan Cranston, or even if you’re not, I think he has a little of something from parts of his life for everyone. With a great narration as well, I highly recommend reading this book in audiobook.
Read it if you enjoy:
- any work by Bryan Cranston
- celebrity memoirs that isn’t full of the author boasting about themselves
- a combination of humour, inspiration, romantic, and life lessons all wrapped up into one
- well-chosen, passionate, and emotional writing that is a huge page-turner
The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls
This final book is much much more unique in the narration style and also more well written than the two books I mentioned above. This tells about the childhood of Jeannette Walls, her life living with two unique parents and constantly moving from state to state and her living situations as the daughter of her crazy parents.
I loved the writing style in this book. It’s very personal and also quite beautiful, and Jeannette definitely has a way with words. Her love for her parents is very defined in her stories, but as she grew up she describes her inner battle with her feelings towards her parents. With a unique life you can write a memoir however you like and people would think it’s a great story, but in this particular one you can just feel how skilled the author is in conveying her emotions through the moments and actions of herself and her family.
I loved the author’s development in personality over the years, and her close relationship with all her family members. Her siblings are very loving towards each other, taking care of each other when their parents cannot. The author was quite close with her father and her love intertwined with anger and resentment at some times, and it feels very genuine and insightful to read about. It definitely felt like a fiction novel, and at times I would catch myself thinking that and realising that this is actually the writer’s real life.
I was very amazed at what Jeannette and her siblings went through, and how amazingly they all turned out relatively fine (and normal, considering) adults. This memoir really shows the in depth look at a family very different from others‘. Despite the fact that they might not be relatable to my own experiences, I found myself remembering my own family and feeling different kinds of love towards my parents all over again. With great writing and a wonderful story to tell, this memoir is one of the best ones I’ve read.
Read it if you enjoy:
- family-focused memoirs
- beautifully written scenes that can make you cry
- chronologically written memoirs
- memoirs that do not feel like autobiographies but feel like a fiction novel
Overall, whatever memoir you chose from these three that I described for you definitely depends on your preferences. Light and funny memoirs are always fun to read on a sad day, but profound and thoughtful ones will definitely stick to your heart for a long time. I hope you found them as lovely reads as I did. Don’t forget to let me know your thoughts on these books if you have (or are planning to) read them in the comments down below.
On another note…
This October, it will be 1 year since the start of my renewal of this blog. Though this domain has been running for over 6 years, I started book blogging and posting books, movies and travel posts only one year ago. Therefore I will be celebrating my first blogiversary by making a small form for you guys! In there you can send me your questions on me, my personal life, my blogging life, and my reading life. I will post a Q&A of all your questions in my blogiversary celebration. It will only take a couple of minutes of your time, so please go click on the picture below to fill out the form, I would really appreciate it.