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Here at The Social Chapter, we love a good story – but there’s something about true stories that truly move us. For this week, that’s our focus – deeply touching and inspiring memoirs that are some of the most important stories we’ll ever read, and teach us important lessons along the way. The perfect summer page-turners, these are tales of love, loss, and struggle that kept our eyes glued to the page from start to finish.
Check out this week’s recommendations below, grab your box of tissues, and happy reading!
More Than Enough by Elaine Welteroth
Penguin Publishing Group, June 2019
Award-winning journalist, author, and judge on Project Runway Elaine Welteroth is a powerhouse, and finally sets out to share her story and what she describes as a universal experience in her memoir, More Than Enough. Part memoir, part manifesto, this is a book for people who feel overlooked, undervalued, overwhelmed or ‘othered’, and sets out to open up the dialogue surrounding the kind of beauty we celebrate in our culture and how the world forces us to limit ourselves. It’s such an important book, and we have absolutely not been able to put it down.
BUY IT: Indigo | $29
Mourning Has Broken by Erin Davis
HarperCollins, February 2019
Radio broadcaster and long-time radio host Erin Davis, who has been known for spending over three decades waking up Canadians with her warmth and humour opens up about life after losing her daughter in this deeply personal, intimate memoir. Struck with grief, Erin and her husband set out on on a long journey to not only survive, but reclaim joy in their lives – and that experience is documented in this heartbreaking and profound account of learning to live after loss.
BUY IT: Amazon | $20
Save Me The Plums by Ruth Reichl
Random House, April 2019
Living through the golden era of Condé, with its notoriously exorbitant salaries, clothing allowances, black cars on demand, and generous operating budgets – that’s what Ruth Reichl‘s Save Me The Plums is all about. The prominent food critic who became the editor-in-chief of ‘Gourmet’ magazine shares poignant and hilarious tales about a former Berkeley hippie entering the corporate world and worrying about losing her soul. Complete with recipes, this personal journey of a woman coming to terms with being in charge and holding on to her dreams definitely deserves a spot on your nightstand.
BUY IT: Indigo | $20
Saving Manno by Spencer Sekyer
Simon & Schuster, April 2019
An inspiring and uplifting memoir about one small-town teacher’s eye-opening travels around the world and his relentless efforts to rescue a chimp in danger, Saving Manno is simply bursting with compassion and courage. Follow Spencer Sekyer’s amazing journey as he began to investigate the shadowy world of animal trafficking, what he learned along the way, and how it changed him. We couldn’t take our eyes off the page from cover to cover!
BUY IT: Amazon | $32
A Girl Named Lovely by Catherine Porter
Simon & Schuster, February 2019
When a devastating earthquake struck Haiti that would soon be become known as one of the worst natural disasters in modern history, ‘Toronto Star’ reporter Catherine Porter was sent to cover the aftermath. That is where she met Lovely, who she describes as ‘a miracle child’ – a young girl who had survived six days under rubble, and emerged somehow healthy and happy. A Girl Named Lovely details Lovely’s miraculous story, and Porter’s struggle to main objectivity as a journalist as her maternal instincts drove her to protect the young girl. It’s a fascinating look at hope, heartbreak, and the modest but meaningful difference one person can make. We absolutely love it.
BUY IT: Indigo | $25
Educated by Tara Westover
HarperCollins, February 2018
Tara Westover was 17 years old before she ever stepped foot in a classroom, and is now a Harvard Fellow with a PhD in History from Cambridge University. In Educated – an extraordinary memoir of self-invention, family, an loyalty – she details her Mormon survivalist upbringing, and how she was raised, uneducated, isolated from the outside world. Never allowed to go to school or the doctor, Westover was forced to teach herself algebra and grammar, before eventually escaping and being accepted to Brigham University. Educated is more than just a woman on the quest for knowledge – it’s a beautiful, propulsive and touching coming-of-age story, one that we’ll never forget.
BUY IT: Amazon | $20
I’m Afraid Of Men by Vivek Shraya
Penguin Canada, August 2018
Vivek Shraya has reason to be afraid in I’m Afraid Of Men, her important record of the damage in her life caused by misogyny, homophobia, and transphobia. She’s endured acts of cruelty and aggression for being too feminine as a boy and not feminine enough as a girl – and she lays it all out for the world to see in this emotional and painful memoir. With raw honesty, Shraya takes us all on her journey from camouflage to a riot of colour and a blueprint for how we might cherish all that makes us different and conquer all that makes us afraid.
BUY IT: Indigo | $18
Always Another Country by Sisonke Msimang
World Editions, September 2018
Graceful and moving, this is the amazing story of a girl born in exile in Zambia to a guerilla father and a working mother. Travelling from Zambia to Kenya to Canada, Sisonke Msimang explores with a keenly developed perspective of the world her path to womanhood with the persistent backdrop of racism and xenophobia. Confidential and reflective, Always Another Country is a search for belonging and identity: a warm and intimate story that will move many readers. It certainly moved us!
BUY IT: Amazon | $20
One Day Closer by Lorinda Stewart
Simon & Schuster, July 2018
This one was an instant national bestseller, and we can see why. When Lorinda Stewart’s daughter Amanda was kidnapped by outlaws in Somalia, the brave, small-town mother was called on by the RCMP to be the lead communicator with Adam, the English-speaking negotiator for her Amanda’s kidnappers. One Day Closer outlines her true story of heroic perseverance in the face of despair, and the hope and healing to be found beyond trauma. It’s a true testament to mother’s love, and it definitely had us on a full roller-coaster of emotions from start to finish.
BUY IT: Indigo | $20