As someone who finds comfort in fiction, nonfiction can be a difficult genre to tackle. As a reader, I get nervous when someone mentions a nonfiction title because I associate the genre with the need to provide an overwhelming amount of information. After years of insisting that nonfiction “simply doesn’t resonate with me,” I stumbled upon a certain memoir that changed the game. These are the four titles I found myself thinking about long after I had finished them. Please check for trigger warnings on these titles as they all have serious and/or graphic content.
This book inspired the making of this list! Like many of her readers, I grew up watching Jennette McCurdy and only picked up the book to learn more about her time on TV. I didn’t expect to feel like I was standing right next to her through it all, because that had never really happened for me with a nonfiction title before. McCurdy shows readers the horrific reality of being a child star and the effects it has had on her mental health to this day. This book covers some extremely sensitive content and McCurdy somehow manages to make it hilarious. This was my favorite release of 2022 because it introduced a brand-new genre and got me reading titles I wouldn’t normally gravitate towards.
This title is not for the weak of heart. Wasted follows Hornbacher through her life as she struggles through various traumatic events and eating disorders. I initially picked this up as an educational resource on mental health and honestly didn’t expect it to be a page turner. But alas, I was wrong. Hornbacher’s emotional yet blunt language puts you directly into her head during some of the worst times of her life.
If the stories above are a little too intense, but you still want something that pulls at the same heart strings, Everything I Know About Love is your next read. Journalist Dolly Alderton gives us an all-telling glimpse into her life as she navigates work, friendship, and love through the ages. With each age, comes a new curated list about what she’s learned.
If you like the book, there’s also a TV show that was released in 2022 based on it!
For readers not looking for a coming-of-age title but a heartwarming read instead, Elephant Speak: A Devoted Keeper’s Life Among the Herd should make its way on your TBR. An educational, but also riveting account of senior elephant keeper Roger Henneous and the thirty years he spent at the Oregon Zoo. Crandall met Roger while volunteering at the zoo and stated in her author’s note that,”His devotion to the elephants in his care, and their obvious love for him, affected me so profoundly that twenty years later I searched him out and asked to write his life’s story.”