Note: if you try to find this genre on Amazon or in the iTunes store, you should probably just search under “memoir” and leave my (colorful) descriptor out of it.
The beauty of these memoirs is that reading them will make you realize how mild your own drama is in comparison. Remember this. Someone else always has it worse than you. You think your drinking is problematic, just read. You think your parents were horrible people, just read. You think your marriage was the worst, just read. Someone else always has it worse than you.
That’s why I’m drawn to these books. “See, Muse,” I tell myself. “Your childhood wasn’t so terrible. Even if your druggie-alcoholic-turned-born-again-Christian-dad did his psychological damage on you, he never physically beat you or dropped you off to live indefinitely with his therapist.” Of course, had my dad seen a therapist before or during my formative years, maybe some of the shit he did wouldn’t have been so devastating for me and my brother.
Or I say to myself, “See, Muse, your life isn’t so bad. Two stays in the loony bin is not the end of the world. At least your stays didn’t happen in the 1950s when you probably would have received electric shock therapy and/or a lobotomy.” Small mercies.
Abandonment, abuse, addiction, crazy parents, crazy siblings, it’s all here. These my top picks for memoirs about some seriously fucked up lives. But, don’t worry, gentle reader. I think (almost) all of these people got their stuff together, so there’s still hope for me (and you).
A Piece of Cake – Cupcake Brown
Running with Scissors – Augusten Burroughs
Burn Down the Ground – Kambri Crews
The End of Eve – Ariel Gore
The Girl’s Guide to Homelessness – Brianna Karp
Orange is the New Black – Piper Kerman
Everything I Never Wanted to Be – Deena Kucera
Breaking Night – Liz Murray
With or Without You – Domenica Ruta
The Glass Castle – Jeannette Walls
Care to share a memoir about fucked up lives? Comment here.