13 True Stories That Need To Become Movies ASAP

by Kerri Jarema

I love a good memoir, and I really love a good memoir-to-movie adaptation. We all know them well: Cheryl Strayed's Wild, Elizabeth Gilbert's Eat Pray Love, Jeannette Walls's The Glass Castle — memoirs that made a huge splash in print and then went on to become pop culture phenomenons when they found their way to the big screen. These are the stories that hit a nerve with such a wide-ranging group of readers and viewers that they're talked about, emulated by other writers, and revisited for years to come. So, which memoirs should be next?

The 13 books below would be the perfect candidates. These are some of the most celebrated memoirs that have been published over the past couple of years, and are therefore primed and ready to reach an even wider audience. From celebrities to government insiders, those with unconventional careers, and change-makers and more, these memoirs are all gripping, entertaining accounts of women with the sort of unique life stories that deserve a place not only on the page and the big screen, but in the hearts of audiences everywhere. If you're looking for some memoirs to add to your teetering stack of summer reads this season, look no further than these necessary picks. (And Hollywood — make these movies happen, ASAP.)

'Just Kids' by Patti Smith

In Just Kids, Patti Smith's first book of prose, the legendary American artist offers a never-before-seen glimpse of her remarkable relationship with photographer Robert Mapplethorpe in the epochal days of New York City in the late sixties and seventies.

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'Educated' by Tara Westover

Born to survivalists in the mountains of Idaho, Tara Westover prepared for the end of the world by stockpiling and sleeping with a "head-for-the-hills bag." She never visited doctors, or went to school. But her quest for knowledge eventually took her over oceans and across continents, to Harvard and Cambridge. Educated is her account of self-invention, fierce family loyalty and of the grief that comes with severing the closest of ties.

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'Priestdaddy' by Patricia Lockwood

Patricia Lockwood's life is unusual in many respects. But above all, there's her father, who underwent a religious conversion on a submarine and became a Catholic priest — despite being married with two children. When 30-year-old Patricia moves back in with her parents, husband in tow, she must learn to deal with her unusual family.

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'The Bright Hour' by Nina Riggs

Nina Riggs was just 37-years-old when she initially diagnosed with breast cancer. Within a year, the mother of two young sons, and married 16 years to her best friend, received the devastating news that her cancer was terminal. Exploring motherhood, marriage, friendship, and memory, The Bright Hour asks you to consider what makes a meaningful life when one has limited time.

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'Unwifeable' by Mandy Stadtmiller

Mandy Stadtmiller came to Manhattan in 2005, newly divorced, 30-years-old, with a job at the New York Post, ready to conquer the city and the industry. Like a “real-life Carrie Bradshaw”, she proceeded to chronicle her fearless attempts at dating for nearly a decade. But underneath the glitz and glamour of her new life, there was a darker side she kept hidden.

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'End of the Rope: Mountains, Marriage, and Motherhood' by Jan Redford

Jan Redford's memoir follows her from a nomadic rock climber to a mother who fights to win back her future. While her husband, an extreme alpinist and her climbing buddy, logs forests, Jan takes on a wife’s traditional role. Over the following years, however, she pursues her own dream: Attending university and gaining independence.

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'The Rules Do Not Apply' by Ariel Levy

When 38-year-old writer Ariel Levy left for a reporting trip to Mongolia in 2012, she was pregnant, married, financially secure, and successful on her own terms. A month later, none of that was true. Her own story of resilience becomes an unforgettable portrait of the shifting forces in our culture, of what has changed — and of what is eternal.

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'A Girl With A Knife' by Amy Thielen

Inspired by her grandmother's tales of cooking on the family farm, Thielen moves with her husband to a cabin he built in the woods. There, she finds growing food obsession that leads to the madhouse of New York's top haute cuisine brigades. When she goes home, she comes face to face with her past, and a curious truth: that taste memory is the most important ingredient of all.

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'Jackie's Girl: My Life With The Kennedy Family' by Kathy McKeon

In 1964, Kathy McKeon was just 19 years old and newly arrived from Ireland when she was hired as the personal assistant to former first lady Jackie Kennedy. The next 13 years of her life were spent in Jackie's service, with a front-row seat to some of the 20th century’s most significant events.

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'Smoke Gets in Your Eyes: And Other Lessons From The Crematory' by Caitlin Doughty

Caitlin Doughty was a 20-something with a degree in medieval history and a flair for the macabre when she took a job at a crematory. Smoke Gets in Your Eyes tells an unusual coming-of-age story full of bizarre encounters and reveals the strange history of cremation and undertaking.

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'When They Call You A Terrorist' by Patrice Khan-Cullors & Asha Bandele

Raised by a single mother in an impoverished neighborhood in Los Angeles, Patrisse Khan-Cullors experienced firsthand the prejudice and persecution Black Americans endure at the hands of law enforcement. In 2013, when Trayvon Martin’s killer went free, Patrisse’s outrage led her to co-found Black Lives Matter. When They Call You a Terrorist is an account of resilience and a call to action.

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'Delancey: A Man, A Woman, A Restaurant, A Marriage' by Molly Wizenberg

When Molly Wizenberg' s husband Brandon Pettit decided to open a restaurant, Molly was supportive — not because she wanted him to do it, but because she didn’t think he would. Before she knew it, he’d signed a lease. Together they built Delancey: renovating the space, developing a menu and hiring staff. Delancey became a success, and Molly tried to be happy...until she realized that she hadn’t been honest with herself or Brandon.

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'From the Corner of the Oval' by Rebecca Dorey-Stein

In 2012, Beck Dorey-Stein was just scraping by in DC when she responded to a Craigslist post that landed her in the Oval Office as one of Barack Obama's stenographers. She joined the elite team who accompanied the president wherever he went, and she always had a recorder and mic in hand. But as she learned the ropes, she became romantically entangled with a consummate DC insider, and suddenly, the political became all too personal.

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