What Is A Memoir?

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If you are wondering what is a memoir book, well in simple words, a memoir is a story of part of your life, a non-fiction book, a slice of life, or a story from your life and not a story about your whole life (autobiography). In a memoir, you are sharing your own authentic story with the world.

In other words, Memoirs reflect on one’s life and what can be learned from it.

Also read: How To Write A Memoir

What Are The Types Of Memoirs?

Memoirs can be categorized into different types according to the contents.

Here are the most common types of memoirs:

  1. Personal Event Memoir
  2. Religious And Spiritual Memoir
  3. Adventure Or Travel Memoir
  4. Celebrity Memoir
  5. Political Memoir
  6. Novel-like Memoir
  7. Triumph Memoir

Let’s talk about the different types of Memoirs in brief with examples.

1. Personal Event Memoir.

A personal Event Memoir is one of the most common types of memoir. It can be a childhood or a coming-of-age memoir, or a significant personal event, like dealing with illness, grief, divorce, abuse, etc. which every individual faces in a lifetime.

Example: Finding Me.

This book is about a little girl named Viola who ran from her past until she made a life-changing decision to stop running forever.

The story from a crumbling apartment in Central Falls, Rhode Island, to the stage in New York City, and beyond. This is the path the author took to not only find her purpose but also her voice in a world that didn’t always see her.

2. Religious And Spiritual Memoir.

This type of memoir revolves around the quest for finding meaning and purpose in life which talks about mindfulness, peace, love, forgiveness, and the likes that shows a path to inspire and one’s spiritual awakening.

Example: Does God Really Care?

In this memoir, the author, Mlian has an honest talk about her life – some of her deepest and darkest times, humiliation, and shame that crushed her to the core. Out of the miseries of being condemned and facing a dark future alone, how she began to see her purpose in life.

3. Adventure Or Travel Memoir.

An adventure or travel memoir mostly describes places in vivid and exciting details that relate to unforgettable experiences.

The author will narrate the experiences, activities, and lessons learned during their travels and how they changed their lives.

Example: The Puma Years.

In this memoir, writer and activist Laura Coleman shares the story of her liberating journey in the Amazon jungle, where she fell in love with a magnificent cat who changed her life.

4. Celebrity Memoir.

Celebrity Memoir is one of the most selling memoirs in the world. You actually do not need to be a famous celebrity to write it. You can write a memoir about a celebrity whom you are close with.

Example: Inside Out (A personal memoir of Demi Moore).

In this deeply candid and reflective memoir, Demi pulls back the curtain and opens up about her career and personal life – laying bare her tumultuous relationship with her mother, her marriages, her struggles balancing stardom with raising a family, and her journey toward open-heartedness. Inside Out is a story of survival, success, and surrender. 

5. Political Memoir.

Political memoirs are mostly written by those holding public office – high profile government officials like presidents, and governors, with motivating life lessons for the readers.

Example: On The House: A Washington Memoir.

Former Speaker of the House John Boehner shares colorful tales from the halls of power, the smoke-filled rooms around the halls of power, and his fabled tour bus.

6. Novel-Like Memoir.

This type of memoir is narrated like a novel that is combined with tragic events and an inspiring storyline. In fact, readers love to read this type of novel as it provokes their imagination.

Example: The Pace-Faced Lie.

A violent ex-con forces his son to commit crimes in this unforgettable memoir about family and survival. Raw and palpable, The Pale-Faced Lie is an inspirational story about the power of forgiveness and the strength of the human spirit.

7. Triumph Memoir.

This type of memoir is common and it describes the struggle and hardships faced by the author in fighting against all odds. The readers are inspired by the important lessons the author shared.

Example: The Beauty Of Living Twice.

Sharon Stone, one of the most renowned actresses in the world, suffered a massive stroke that cost her not only her health, but her career, family, fortune, and global fame. 

The memoir is about her efforts to rebuild her life and writes about her slow road back to wholeness and health. In a business that doesn’t accept failure, in a world where too many voices are silenced, Stone found the power to return, the courage to speak up, and the will to make a difference in the lives of men, women, and children around the globe.

To sum up, a memoir is a book which basically is about story about part of someone’s life.

FAQs On Memoir

Q. Can anyone write a memoir?

Yes, anyone who dares to tell the truth (even if it hurts) can write a memoir.

Check out this article on How to write your own memoir.

Q. Can you write your own memoir?

You can write your own memoir. Apart from that, you can write memoirs of other people too.

Q. Is it worth writing a memoir?

If you have a clear purpose for writing, whether you write for yourself or for others, it is worth it.

Q. Why do people want to write a memoir?

The reasons why people write memoirs can be endless. Some of the common reasons why people write their memoirs are:

1. They want to share their secrets.

2. Preserving the family’s legacy.

3. Search for personal identity.

4. Want to help and encourage others.

5. Heal from a traumatic experience.

6. To study or understand a situation.

Q. Is a memoir a self-help book?

A memoir is a kind of self-help book that focuses on the author sharing experiences and what she/he learned from those experiences.


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