7 Great Autobiographies by Women that Everyone Should Read

If you love autobiographies or are just looking to get into the genre, here are 7 of my favorite autobiographies.

Child of the Dark: The Diary of Carolina Maria de Jesus by Carolina Maria de Jesus

This is a first hand account of life in São Paulo, Brazil, written in the late 1950s to early 1960s. De Jesus was an incredible woman, and more people today need to know her story.

Unfiltered: No Shame, No Regrets, Just Me by Lily Collins

Usually, I am not a huge fan of celebrity autobiographies. It can be hard to relate to someone whose life is so different from your own. That being said, I found Lily Collins autobiography to be very moving. Her writing was sophisticated and relatable.

The Right to Choose by Gisèle Halimi

If you are looking for a short but powerful read, The Right to Choose is for you. Halimi writes about her childhood, as well as her lawyer work fighting to legalize abortion and make it more accessible to women of all economic backgrounds. This book is out of print, so it’s very hard to come by, but if you happen to see it listed online somewhere, or in a used bookstore, snatch it up!

The Woman Warrior by Maxine Hong Kingston

Kingston’s writing is confronting, gritty, and magical. The Woman Warrior details Kingston’s upbringing as a Chinese American in California. This is a great mixture of memoir, myth, and folklore, and Kingston does a great job of intertwining all three together to explore identity, family, and womanhood.

Dreams of Trespass by Fatema Mernissi

This is one of my personal favorite autobiographies. Mernissi’s writing is beautiful, and she weaves her own memories into the narratives of the women surrounding her. Mernissi gets readers to reimagine words and places that have long been defined by white colonizers.

Lakota Woman by Mary Crow Dog

This is another of my favorite autobiographies. Mary Crow Dog grew up on the Rosebud Indian Reservation in South Dakota. Lakota Woman chronicles her experiences as a Native American woman, including her childhood, strict missionary schooling, and her joining the tribal pride movement. Own-voices Native American literature is scarce, but this is a great place to start.

Anything We Love Can Be Saved by Alice Walker

This is one of those books that is great to read with a highlighter or pen in hand. I loved highlighting my favorite passages and making notes for myself to come back to later. Walker covers many topics in this work, from feminism to identity, but there is something in here for everyone.

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