Databases & Websites by Subject
- Surviving Childhood
Biography Eggers, D.
A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius by Dave Eggers
At the age of 22, Eggers became both an orphan and a “single mother” when his parents died of cancer within five months of one another. In the ensuing sibling division of labor, Dave was appointed unofficial guardian of his 8-year-old brother, Christopher, with mixed results.
Biography Keith, M.C.
The Next Better Place: A Father and Son on the Road by Michael C. Keith
The book recounts Keith’s 11th year, in 1959, when his mother allowed him to live with his father, a feckless alcoholic and drifter, because she could not care for him and his two younger sisters. Father and son embarked upon a life-changing coast-to-coast road trip via Greyhound bus.
Biography Lauck, J.
Blackbird: A Childhood Lost and Found by Jennifer Lauck
This heartbreaking memoir reconstructs the sad and turbulent events of Lauck’s childhood, which was overshadowed by the illness and early death of her mother.
Unstrung Heroes: My Improbable Life with Four Impossible Uncles by Franz Lidz
Lidz, who writes for Sports Illustrated, relates the absurd domestic dramas provoked by his father’s four brothers, who abided by no law or convention and practiced strange scavenging and hoarding habits. Their antics, however, were lovingly integrated into the Long Island childhood of the author and his sister.
Biography Lyden, J.
Daughter of the Queen of Sheba by Jacki Lyden
In this colorful memoir, Lyden, senior correspondent for National Public Radio, describes her early life as the daughter of a mother suffering from manic depression.
Biography McCall, C.
Lifeguarding: A Memoir of Secrets, Swimming, and the South by Catherine McCall
McCall describes a Kentucky society childhood, growing up in segregated 1960s Louisville in the shadow of the death of her grandparents and an
alcoholic father. They brought the family from social prominence to financial turmoil and social ruin.
Biography Mah, A.
Falling Leaves: The True Story of an Unwanted Chinese Daughter by Adeline Yen Mah
Yen Mah’s mother died at her birth; and the child, considered an ill omen, was treated with crushing severity. But she was encouraged by the love of an aunt and eventually made her way to the U.S., where she became a doctor, married happily and, ironically, was the one her father and stepmother turned to in their old age.
Biography Moehringer, J.
The Tender Bar: A Memoir by J.R. Moehringer
This is the story of a young man who knew his radio disc jockey father only as “The Voice,” of a single mother struggling to make a better life for her son, and of a riotously dysfunctional family from Long Island, who owned the local watering hole which provided the culture and heartbeat of the hamlet. Moehringer made it big as a writer for the Los Angeles Times, and returned home to find that many of the same tavern regulars who nurtured and supported him as a child had lives ruined by 9/11 and its terrible consequences.
Biography Nasdijj, V.
Geronimo’s Bones: A Memoir of My Brother and Me by Nasdijj
The child of a pedophile white father and an alcoholic Navajo woman, Nasdijj and his brother, Tso, moved from one migrant camp to another. Only the boys’ deep bonds of brotherhood and love allowed them to survive a childhood that to most would be unimaginable.
Biography Ryan, E.
The Prize Winner of Defiance, Ohio: How My Mother Raised 10 Kids on 25 Words or Less by Terry Ryan
While her abusive husband drank away a third of his weekly take-home pay, Evelyn Ryan kept her ever-growing family afloat by entering every contest she came across. This is a heartwarming story of tenacity and courage.
Biography Sage, L.
Bad Blood by Lorna Sage
Growing up in a household with grandparents that actively hated and abused each other on a daily basis, a mother living in an extended state of adolescence, and a father perpetually gone off to war, noted literary critic Lorna Sage did not have the option of passing for “normal” in her small town. Ultimately two powerful influences: her grandfather’s literary influence and her love of books allowed her to escape from her family.
Biography Scheeres, J.
Jesus Land: A Memoir by Julia Scheeres
A frank and compelling portrait of growing up as a white girl with two adopted black brothers in a 1970s fundamentalist Christian home in rural Indiana.
Biography Zanichkowsky, S.
Fourteen: Growing Up Alone in a Crowd by Stephen Zanichkowsky
Freelance writer Zanichkowsky’s wrenchingly honest account of being one of 14 children neatly destroys those rosy misconceptions of a Cheaper-by-the-Dozen-kind of life.
Prepared by Joslyn Jones, September 2010