In my second article for XXMag I talked about memoirs by women that we can learn so much from.  Whenever I need help, I generally turn to books, specifically books written by women who struggled with the things I am currently dealing with. Gone are the days of generic “self-help.” I crave memoirs and autobiographies that are real, offer practical tips, and are empathetic to my situation.

Here are five books that offered me guidance at a time in my life when I needed it the most.

1. Year of Yes by Shonda Rhimes

Shonda Rhimes is the creator and producer of some of the TV Shows we love to watch including “Grey’s Anatomy”, “Scandal”, “How to Get Away with Murder” and “Catch”. In Rhimes’ deeply moving and inspiring memoir, Year Of Yes she details how deciding to say “YES” to the really scary things changed her life for the better. As far as memoirs go, this was deeply moving and insightful. You would expect a woman like Shonda Rhimes to have it all together. However, this introvert lays out her vulnerabilities and shows us how she tackles each of them.

What I love most about this book is how it subtly highlights how we limit ourselves when we say no, and how saying “yes” (to certain things) really opens up our world and makes us braver.

I highly recommend this inspiring read to anyone who is struggling to say yes to that job opportunity, to starting that business, to going back to school, to going on that dream vacation alone… this book will change your life.


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2. Carry On, Warrior: Thoughts on Life Unarmed by Glennon Doyle Melton

Glennon Doyle Melton is the creator the blog Carry On, Warrior is a compilation of some of her most popular blog posts, along with new stories from her life. What I loved most about this book was how deeply relatable the author is. It is as if your best friend was talking to you through this book. She offered just the right amount of scolding, comfort and advice necessary to get you going. Melton makes the point that “Life is hard—not because we’re doing it wrong, just because it’s hard.” She also offers advice on how to navigate life, unarmed.

A heart-warming humorous read for anyone is going through it.


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3. Shrill: Notes From A Loud Woman by Lindy West

It took me a long time to admit this, but I am loud. I would go as far as to say majority of my friends are also loud. Whenever we get together, there is a loudness that surrounds us. It is no wonder I absolutely adored Lindy West’s memoir  Shrill: Notes from a Loud Woman. In Shrill, West talks about how shy she was growing up,  and how she tried to make herself small. In this hilarious memoir West boldly shares her experience with fat shaming, feminism, abortion, and self love.

Lindy West is a loud woman and in so many ways I relate to her in this book because of how vulnerable and funny she is. If you feel as if you have been making yourself small in any area of your life, if you struggle with loving yourself or if you are silencing yourself to please someone else, this is the book you want to pick up. A timely, well written, hilarious look at how to embrace who you are. West reminds us that,  “Loving yourself is not antithetical to health, it is intrinsic to health. You can’t take good care of a thing you hate.”



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4. We’re Going To Need More Wine by Gabrielle Union

A part of me wishes this book was actually called We’re Going To Need More Prosecco because that is my drink of choice. Alas, wine will suffice because in reading this memoir, you will need wine and lots of it. I have been a big fan of Gabrielle Union since her “Brrrr it’s cold in here” days and more recently her “Being Mary Jane” show. In her deeply moving and very personal memoir, Union shares some hard experiences, from her struggle with fertility, rape, PTSD, marriage, motherhood, dating and being a black celebrity. This is not your usual Hollywood light memoir, Union courageously bares it all for her readers. There are so many lessons to be learned from this emotionally charged memoir. I highly recommend picking this one up…of course, make sure you have wine.


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5. The Mother of Black Hollywood: A Memoir by Jenifer Lewis

Dr. Jenifer Lewis is the mother of Black Hollywood, reading this memoir shows why. Widely known for her role on “Black-ish” Lewis looks back on her life with humour, condor and boldness. This is not the memoir you would expect from someone who could be your Grandma and that is exactly what makes it relatable and unforgettable. In this deeply personal memoir, Lewis talks about her struggle with mental illness, sex addiction, her dysfunctional family, and abuse. While hilarious at times, Lewis ensures that with each experience the reader learns a lesson that can help them in life.

A deeply moving, raw, heartbreaking and uplifting memoir from the Mother of Black Hollywood. I highly recommend this to anyone who is looking for advice on any area of their life from someone whose been through it all.


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I have learned so much from these five women just by picking up their memoirs. These five books ooze life advice and lessons from women who have been through it. Let me know the five memoirs by Women you would recommend.


About the Author


Founder & Editor

Hello, I am Cindy, a Jamaican girl living in Trinidad & Tobago who is thoroughly enjoying island life. I started the BookOfCinz platform to encourage people to Read, read More, read Widely, and Read Caribbean.

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