Find out the latest indie author news. For FREE.


Memoir / Autobiography

  • The Girl From Number 7 Windsor Avenue

    by Vivienne Grilliot Worthington

    Rating: 7.00

    Plot/Idea: Worthington creates a strong shout out to any child who has grown up with a parent in the military—and who has had to move schools often. She realistically portrays the challenges and losses experienced along the way as well as the humor she finds with the new people she meets.

    Prose: The writing is even and clear. Readers will gain a genuine sense for each location the family lives and the locals they get to know in the process. 

    Originality: Focusing on the military experience from a youthful person’s point of view is refreshing. Worthington was able to see the world at a young age, even though her focus is mainly on the social aspect of her situation.

    Character/Execution: The author gives readers some foreshadowing regarding her heritage, which is eventually sorted out later in the book. Her reflection about her circumstances is honest and thoughtful, and readers can fully understand the issues that come with being nomadic in a military family.

  • Plot/Idea: Leavitt's Christian faith is evident in this touching memoir, as the tragedies in her family are soothed by her devotion to God and Jesus. She spends time sharing her spiritual vision with readers and encouraging them to embark on a similar path. 

    Prose: The prose is concise, and Leavitt's inspirational writing is an undercurrent throughout the memoir, with consistent references to scripture and the role of God in her family—and personal—life.  

    Originality: The extreme dependence on Christian faith, alongside the strength of their community, sees Leavitt's family through several disasters, giving the text an uplifting and encouraging feel.

    Character/Execution: Leavitt is surely an extremely strong, devout person, with few spiritual or religious doubts. She weathers significant adversities through an unyielding reliance on faith—which may make the narrative more difficult to understand for non-religious readers. 

  • Wolf: A Memoir of Love and Atonement

    by Carter McNamara

    Rating: 7.00

    Plot/Idea: In a moving memoir, McNamara openly reflects on how his traumatic and tumultuous childhood experiences have influenced his adult life. While McNamara's life story isn't exceptional, many readers will find his journey toward forgiveness and understanding to be relatable.

    Prose: McNamara's prose is bright and vivid. By placing readers directly within the formative moments of his childhood, the author brings verisimilitude to the text.

    Originality: Though stories of past trauma are familiar, McNamara brings refreshing candor to the narrative. His exploration of his own anger is especially powerful.

    Character/Execution: Throughout the stages of his life, McNamara comes across as authentic and distinctive. His supportive life partner is equally well conveyed.

  • Lost in China: A Memoir of World War II

    by Jennifer Dobbs

    Rating: 7.00

    Plot: Tracing the extensive travels of the Dobbs family across China during the early years of World War II, this memoir covers a lot of ground but could do more to deliver on its adventuresome premise. With the main text limited to a straightforward, linear account of events, and much of the historical and personal context that would enrich and enliven the story relegated to footnotes, readers will be left waiting for Lost in China to become a fully-fleshed narrative.

    Prose: Competently written in clear prose, Lost in China contains many evocative descriptions of a time and place that will be entirely new and intriguing to readers.

    Originality: A thought-provoking account of a truly unique life experience, Lost in China contains some interesting historical context and surprising perspectives into the war's impact on China and the Westerners who found themselves trapped there during a fraught period.

    Character/Execution: Despite Dobbs's unique, interesting experience, her choice to write the memoir from her perspective as a young child renders the story as a long chain of impressions and movements that happened to her, without the agency, emotional depth, or introspection that might have come with a more adult perspective.

  • Plot: This is an inspiring story of a boy with a difficult childhood who turns from a life of crime to an honest existence, primarily due to the influence of his children and the help of a few caring mentors.

    Prose: The prose is straightforward and eminently readable, if not remarkable. The author's honesty and authenticity truly drive the storytelling. 

    Originality: Rumsey's narrative, while not wholly original in style and presentation, is unique in its candor and compassion. Readers will welcome Rumsey's story of his early struggles and eventual redemption.  

    Character/Execution: The characters are sketched out effectively, though the strongest character is the author himself as he reflects on his past, finding the ability to show caring and understanding to his former self while simultaneously acknowledging his mistakes. 

  • The Odyssey of a Hippie Marijuana Grower

    by John-Paul Cernak

    Rating: 6.50

    Plot/Idea: This unusual memoir reads like a well-crafted novel, though readers may wish for more historical context to round out the author's story.

    Prose: The casual tone fits the memoir's theme, though the prose could be tightened in places. The author makes the most of rich descriptions, giving the different scenes a vibrant and realistic feel.  

    Originality: The author adds depth to the conventional going-against-the-grain theme with his vivid portrayals of an exceptionally unique life.

    Character/Execution: Some characters lack depth and play a more superficial role in the author's life, but the book's lavish descriptions make up for the shortage of finely-tuned characterizations.  


  • Plot/Idea: This is an intriguing idea, but the text could be expanded to obtain a larger view of the terribly difficult situation and inherent dangers of working and living in a war zone. 

    Prose: The book is compact and mimics journalistic writing. Griess describes several different events that took place during her time in Vietnam, and although the activities are less dramatic than readers may expect, she is particularly skilled at ending chapters with short, provocative sentences that lend suspense to the narrative.

    Originality: The author's perspective as a female nurse who served in Vietnam gives this originality and a sense of variation from similar books. 

    Character/Execution: Griess's character is brave, adaptable and kind. She does not come across as having much trepidation about her tasks, and readers may wish for more interiority throughout the memoir—much of the writing focuses on relating her experiences rather than her emotions during and after those events. 

  • Plot/Idea: Requist's memoir has strong religious underpinnings, and her retrospective storytelling examines how the church has influenced her life—in positive and negative ways. She openly questions conventional religious beliefs while reflecting on her own spirituality throughout.

    Prose: The prose leans toward the didactic, and Requist's style is steeped in religious writing, with a powerful emphasis on faith-based lessons.

    Originality: Requist explores the impact religion has had on her personally as well as how it influenced her family.  Her strong faith-based opinions form the foundation of the memoir, though she does take time in places to analyze her beliefs from a more open standpoint. 

    Character/Execution: Characterization stays fairly rigid throughout the memoir, but Requist reveals moments of pain that make her more vulnerable and relatable.  


  • Deep Creek or Bust

    by Deborah Laird Meeks

    Rating: 6.00

    Plot/Idea: Meeks recounts a fairly typical 1960s example of a Girl Scout camping adventure, emphasizing the bond that grows between the girls during the trip. 

    Prose: Despite some minor grammar hiccups, the prose is clear and supports the story well. Meeks's friendly and familiar tone evokes the sunbaked friendships and cool evenings of summer camp. 

    Originality: Not quite a coming-of-age story—and depicted more as a pleasant memory—this memoir skillfully portrays the twilight innocence of childhood during a tumultuous time in the United States. 

    Character/Execution: Meeks offers readers a range of characters, including her own role in the story, as she becomes more confident and outspoken during the course of camp. She threads the importance of leadership through the narrative as well, crafting strong mentors who greatly influence the girls attending camp.