There’s nothing like a well written true-to-life autobiography that touches the core of human trial and error. I love books with moving stories of testimonial truth that removes the misconception that celebrities had or have an easy road–simply because they’re celebrities. From these books we learn that their celebrity status is simply evidence that they refused to stay down when they fell–or were pushed.
“I know Why the Caged Bird Sings” by Maya Angelou
Maya Angelou reached a place of world prominence decades prior to her passing on May 28, 2014. This literary icon touched my life with her mastery. One of her autobiographies I read entitled “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings” is an account of courage and despair. It was written in 1969, one year after the 1968 assassinations of Dr. Martin Luther King and Senator Robert Kennedy. In it, she details experiences of racism and injustice in the middle of the Civil Rights movement. She talks openly about being raped by a family member, and her determination to overcome is clear in the story line. This is one of my favorites because it demonstrates true-to-life experiences that the reader can both identify with and learn from.
“Little Girl Lost” by Drew Barrymore and Todd Gold
I love Drew Barrymore. Stories about her waywardness were always in the news. Truthfully, this is a book I need to finish. But I can tell you this…I will. Her story is so heartbreaking, and yet so triumphant. It also represents many young girls who had their childhoods stolen. She talks about drinking alcohol, using marijuana, and snorting cocaine –starting at age nine. It’s a book everyone should read, especially those who have pre-teen daughters or granddaughters. This story represents all who got lost on the journey of life and found their way back.
“A Paper Life” by Tatum O’Neal
Similar to Drew Barrymore, and so many other young child stars, Tatum O’Neal admits to becoming a serious cocaine addict. She remembers a turbulent childhood. Clearly parental neglect and abuse contributed to depression, driving her to drug use. Again, an autobiography isn’t worth reading if the reader doesn’t come away with reflection and a lesson. O’Neal’s candor about her rocky relationship with father, Ryan O’Neal and her failed marriage to John McEnroe (a marriage I didn’t know about before reading the book) inspires the reader to aim high when feeling low.
These are three amazing women with equally amazing stories that each of us can either learn from or be liberated by or both. Their stories are worth knowing.