If you’ve read any memoirs lately, you may think the idea of a “feel-good” memoir is any oxymoron. It seems unless your past involved abuse, addiction, alcoholism, affairs or abandonment, the publishers just aren’t interested in your story. But there are some memoirs out there that are positive, uplifting and downright funny.
One good example is Growing Up True by Craig Barnes, the book selected by the Golden Public Library for its One Book. One Golden. program. Barnes grew up in rural Colorado after World War II and the lessons he learned from the hard work of mending fences, making hay and gentling horses have served him well throughout his life. His book is warm, inviting and in some places, laugh-out-loud funny.
Another author whose rural roots had a great influence on his life is Michael Perry. In his book, Coop: A Year of Poultry, Pigs, and Parenting, Perry takes both the physical and philosophical knowledge gained from growing up on a Wisconsin farm and applies it, more or less successfully, to his current situation.
Farley Mowat, probably best known for his semi-autobiographical book, Never Cry Wolf, wrote an entertaining account of his growing up years in Canada in the 1930s. In Born Naked, Mowat pays tribute to his eccentric father and long-suffering mother, recalling the love and hard work that kept them together through tough economic times.
Haven Kimmel’s, A Girl Named Zippy, is a funny and feel-good report of growing up in a small Midwestern town in the 1960s. It contains no harsh revelations of childhood abuse or personal tragedy, just keen observations of small town life as seen through a child’s eyes.
More feel-good memoirs you might enjoy:
High, Wide and Lonesome by Hal Borland
The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid by Bill Bryson
Life Itself by Roger Ebert