Annie Dillard, our memoirs would probably not attract much readership. Like literary voyeurs, readers are drawn to memoirs that are sensational in their catastrophe. David Pelzer’s A Child Called “It” (2002 Popular Paperbacks) has been fascinating youthful readers for almost two decades. Such memoirs allow readers to experience horrible things vicariously, and, more importantly, witness the healing aftermath.
Most memoirs are written from an adult perspective for understandable reasons. Often the focus, however, is on younger selves that lived through the trauma-scarred years. For this reason, nearly all of the books below are published for adult audiences. Many of them have been recognized with YALSA awards or inclusion on a YALSA list.