Opening up a good memoir is starting a journey–like climbing into a waiting car for an road trip to an exotic, unknown destination while savoring every twist and turn in the road. Here’s a list of my five favorite memoirs. What’s your favorite memoir?

  1. Girl Meets God, by Lauren Winner. A brilliant Orthodox Jewish woman is pursued by Jesus.
  2. Angela’s Ashes, by Frank McCourt. Funny and sad and rivetingly memorable. Read it, then listen to the author tell the story in his Irish brogue in the audiobook.
  3. A Girl Named Zippy, by Haven Kimmel. Written in a very distinctive voice. There is a chapter in this book that still makes me laugh out loud every time I think of it.
  4. Soul Survivor, by Philip Yancey. A coming-of-age story about returning to the faith of his childhood, told through the lens of Yancey’s 13 heroes of the faith. I used this book as a template for my own memoir, So Long Status Quo. I wrote Yancey and told him. He wrote me back!
  5. Lit, by Mary Karr. Intricate details and stark honesty make this story both funny and heartbreaking, as well as vibrantly alive. Mary’s both a brilliant poet and a small town rough-and-tumble Texan. Her memoirs reflect this tension and reflect a complicated, and fascinating story about love, faith, and alcohol.

What are your favorite memoirs? Which ones have stuck with you?

Susy Flory is the New York Times bestselling author or co-author of eleven books. Her newest book, out in 2017, is an astronaut memoir with the only man ever to fly in space and climb Mount Everest. Susy directs the West Coast Christian Writers Conference, in the San Francisco Bay Area. You can find out more about Susy at

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