Home Blog Best celeb memoirs: Viola Davis, Michelle Obama, Jennette McCurdy – USA TODAY

Best celeb memoirs: Viola Davis, Michelle Obama, Jennette McCurdy – USA TODAY


With celebrities sharing so much of their lives on social media and news outlets reporting on their relationships, fashion and families, you might wonder what you don’t know about them? For many celebrities, writing a memoir allows them to tell their own stories and take control of their lives.
For Constance Wu, it was an opportunity to open up about her mental health struggles. For Matthew Perry, his book allowed him to share his path to sobriety, filling in the details the tabloids left out.
When Michelle Obama released the cover for “Becoming,” she said: “I hope you’ll also think about your own story, and trust that it will help you become whoever you aspire to be. Your story is what you have, what you will always have. It is something to own.”
Here are nine celebrity memoirs worth the read:
By Viola Davis (HarperOne, 2022)
Davis’ raw and intimate memoir makes you feel as if you are sitting down with her for a conversation rather than simply reading her book. She writes about her troubled childhood, racism and the teachers and mentors who helped her succeed. She won a Grammy for the audio recording of this book, and it’s worth a listen. 
Viola Davis goes EGOT: ‘Finding Me’ Grammy win: Here’s what we learned reading her book
By Dave Grohl (Dey Street Books, 2021)
It never should surprise us that a musician who writes music would also write a great book. USA TODAY music reporter Melissa Ruggieri said, “Grohl is a reliable narrator who inherently possesses conversational wit and a photographic memory for details, such as the brown shag carpeting in Sound City Studios where Nirvana recorded ‘Nevermind’ and the words his beloved mother, Virginia, told him when he informed her he was quitting school to pursue music: ‘You better be good.'”
Dave Grohl on Kurt Cobain:: ‘There are certain people in your life you prepare yourself to lose’
By Jennette McCurdy (Simon & Schuster, 2022)
The former Nickelodeon star writes about growing up with a narcissistic stage mother with dark humor in a way that only a real writer could. While the subject is difficult – eating disorders and emotional abuse – McCurdy shares her story in a way in which you understand her and root for her. And when you finish, you hope she’ll write another book.  
More: How Jennette McCurdy escaped her narcissistic mother’s ‘excruciating’ abuse
Trevor Noah, (One World, 2016)
The former host of “The Daily Show” chronicles his life in South Africa as the child of a white Swiss father and a Black Xhosa mother. His amusing stories as a mischievous child juxtaposed with the history of apartheid and his mother’s love make this book a smart and enjoyable read. 
By Michelle Obama (Crown, 2018)
Even with all that had been written about her while President Barack Obama was in office, the former first lady manages to share new insights and meaningful anecdotes about her family and what life was like inside the White House. 
Woman of the Year: Michelle Obama finds the inner light, global influence of life beyond the White House
Matthew Perry (Flatiron, 2022)
Perry chronicles his battles with alcohol and drugs like Vicodin, Xanax and OyxContin, which led to frequent hospital visits and trips to rehab while somehow also making you laugh. You understand the seriousness of his addictions when you get to this line: “Please note: for the next few paragraphs, this book will be a biography rather than a memoir because I was no longer there.”
More: Matthew Perry talks Valerie Bertinelli kiss, near-death opioid experience in tell-all book
By Danny Trejo (Atria, 2021)
USA TODAY writer Pamela Avila says Trejo’s memoir “captures a different picture of the ‘Machete’ and ‘Desperado’ actor fans have grown to love (or fear), covering his 11 years in and out of prison, his road to sobriety, growing up in a Mexican American household and the intergenerational trauma he’s endured, the ways fatherhood changed him, and his acting career and foray into the food scene.”
More: Danny Trejo on his new memoir, toxic masculinity and how his daughter ‘helped me change my life’
By Constance Wu (Scribner, 2022)
Wu’s book, more a collection of a essays, reveals her mental health struggles and suicide attempt, as well as stories about love and finding success. She details how as a child she was taught to hold in her feelings, but in theater, she was allowed to be herself.
‘I swallowed abuse for so long’: Constance Wu won’t be silenced about ‘Fresh Off the Boat’
By Michelle Zauner (Knopf, 2021)
If you’ve seen Japanese Breakfast perform, you will find that Zauner is as radiant in her book as she is on stage. The Korean American singer writes about losing her mother and how food connects us, but also about finding herself in this lyrical memoir. 
10 more memoirs: Ashley C. Ford, Roxane Gay, Javier Zamora and more



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