There have been some really fabulous memoirs written by Australian women published in the past few years. They lay bare the experience of being a woman in all its many forms. From feminism to racism, battling with body image and cultural identity, the stories I’ve read have been rich with insight and humour.
The following list is not exhaustive. These are simply the memoirs I’ve personally read, loved and reviewed recently.
I’m also very much looking forward to reading Leigh Sales’ Any Ordinary Day. I hear it’s excellent but I’ve loaned my copy to a friend to enjoy it first! I hope she reads quickly.
1. The Hate Race, by Maxine Beneba Clarke
The Hate Race is Maxine Beneba Clarke’s memoir of growing up black in a white, middle-class Australian suburb in the 1980s and 1990s. It’s an enjoyable, rollicking tale of happy childhood memories peppered with shocking jolts of ingrained racism and unchecked bullying.
2. Stranger Country, by Monica Tan
I found this book absolutely fascinating, honest and confronting. Tan is a curious person and natural storyteller, which together made this book a real joy to read.
3. Apple Island Wife – Slow Living In Tasmania, by Fiona Stocker
Apple Island Wife is Fiona Stocker’s simply delightful memoir of trading city life in Brisbane for rural life in north-western Tasmania. Her descriptions of the cooler climate, slower lifestyle and simple living with young children made me want to pack up my own city life immediately.
It all sounded so wonderful.
Well, except for the scorpions, the spiders, the snakes, the maniacal rooster and the vicious alpaca. Oh, and also the bushfires and flooding, septic tanks and shotguns. Apart from all that…
4. Fight Like A Girl, by Clementine Ford
Fight Like A Girl follows Clementine Ford’s journey from a schoolgirl desperate for male attention and approval to a high-profile feminist writer who laughs at her online attackers. It’s a fascinating – and bumpy – road.
Her ironic, humorous treatment of topics that leave plenty of the rest of us unable to see through blinding rage was incredibly refreshing and uplifting.
It’s one of those books you’ll read while driving everyone around you batty by excitedly reading out entire chunks every few pages or so.
5. Bridge burning and other hobbies, by Kitty Flanagan
Reading comedian Kitty Flanagan’s memoir, Bridge Burning & other hobbies was like enjoying a stand-up routine in print – and every bit as funny! I thoroughly enjoyed this book, it gave me plenty of laughs when I was very much in need of them.