13 Memoirs Every Millennial Women Should Read In Her 20s

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I love a good memoir. Something about sinking my teeth into the behind the scenes of someone else's life has always appealed to me. I believe there are certain memoirs to read in your 20s to help you navigate the ups and downs of adulthood. The mix of female memoirs below are both dark and humorous. Well mostly funny, since I think we all need a good laugh to get us through this decade.

13 Memoirs To Read In Your 20s:

Growing up as an only child with overly protective parents, I often found myself escaping into television and books. I love how they exported me from my relatively mundane life, into another realm.

1. Smashed: Story of a Drunken Girlhood by Koren Zailckas
smashed millennial women books to read

Okay, I know most other people would recommend “Drinking A Love Story” by Caroline Knapp, but for me Koren Zailckas does a much better job of tapping into what it truly felt like to start drinking in high school and see that play out into young adulthood. The book follows her journey from her first drink at 14 into young adulthood. She published the book at only 24 years old! This book was a gamer changer for me. I laughed, I cried, and I totally related to Koren in her memoir. It's a good reminder that friends need to stick together and look out for each other.

2. Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns) by Mindy Kaling

I loveeee Mindy Kaling. Seriously she just gets me. Her memoir is no different. It's more random musing about friendship than life per se, but a great beach read nonetheless.

3. #GIRLBOSS by Sophia Amoruso

Sophia Amurouso's journey from homeless and dumpster diving to running a multi-million dollar company. A great reminder that dreams just don't happen, we have to work for them.

4. Not That Kind of Girl: A Young Woman Tells You What She's “Learned” by Lena Dunham

Lena Dunham is basically an artistic, expressive genius in my eyes (#RIP Girls). Seriously, no one can quite capture the existential crises of our twenties like Dunham does. I loved learning more about her personal experiences in life. It's hilarious and wise beyond it's years.

5. Pretty Is What Changes: Impossible Choices, the Breast Cancer Gene, and How I Defied My Destiny by Jessica Queller

Ugh this book is riveting, heart wrenching, and a total page turner. Jessica Queller is a former writer for TV hits like Gilmore Girls, Gossip Girl, One Tree Hill, Felicity, and more. In this book she shares the experience of losing her mother, discovering she is a carrier of the BRCA gene, and how that knowledge plays out in her life. I always knew about the different diseases and issues ashkenazi Jews (which I am) are susceptible too, but didn't know about this one. It was a great call to action to get myself checked out by the doctor and learn more about my family history.

6. Bossypants by Tina Fey

This book covers SO many stages of Tina Fey's life. It's literally laugh out loud hysterical (I would read it at the gym and almost fall off my elliptical!). Both wildly insightful and inspirational.

7. My Horizontal Life: A Collection Of One Night Stands by Chelsea Handler

Truthfully, anything by Chelsea Handler is the perfect summer read. Wildly funny, and easy to pick up and put down (most of her books are a collection of short stories). My Horizontal Life has always been a favorite of mine. So after that rough night out, pick it up and remember, at least you didn't do that. Also, her latest one, Life Will Be The Death Of Me, is fabulous and kind of different from her previous ones! It's a must read!!

8. Wild by Cheryl Strayed

As they say in the Gilmore Girls revival, “the book is more pure.” Nothing is more comforting in your twenties than reading about someone else hitting rock bottom then leaving it all behind to find themselves in nature.

9. “Orange Is The New Black” by Piper Kerman

I read this book back in 2010 and it spoke to my heart then. Put aside what you think about Piper Chapman in the Netflix version of this story, and remember that Piper Kerman is a real person. Who went to real prison. For a real crime. While the book and show have a lot of foundational concepts the same, they are also different (the show is more #drama). Kerman's story is a great reminder that the things we do in our youth, can impact us in ways we never thought possible.

10. Becoming by Michelle Obama

I mean, it's Michelle Obama, need I say more?

11. Girl, Wash Your Face by Rachel Hollis

So I won't lie, I actually debated putting this on here; but a reader convinced me to. The book is definitely motivational, and not a traditional “memoir” while it does have loads of personal stories. It's more self help-y. My issue with it, is that it pushes the hustle mentality, which I don't agree with (more on that here). However, it is a good, thought provoking, motivational book that many women LOVE. She also has a sequel, which I haven't read, “Girl, Stop Apologizing.”

12. Educated by Tara Westover

I first heard about this book on Ellen and let me tell you, it's WELL worth the read! She grew up isolated from mainstream society in the mountains as the daughter to survivalists preparing for the world to end. She never stepped foot into a classroom until 17 years old. There's violence, seeking, and transformation. It looks at education and family dynamics and so much more.

13. The Last Black Unicorn by Tiffany Haddish

I love Tiffany Haddish. She shares her story from foster care, to sexual abuse and loads more, all with her comedic flare. It's like that phrase, “I laugh to keep from crying” coming to life.


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175 thoughts on “13 Memoirs Every Millennial Women Should Read In Her 20s”

  1. Hmm very cool, I honestly get so busy I used to love reading memoirs and now I have lost that I need to get back into it!

  2. So many great picks! I’ve heard awesome things about the memoir by Mindy Kaling. I also ready Chelsea Handler’s book Are You There Vodka? It’s Me, Chelsea and I was literally laughing out loud! I watch the Orange is the New Black show but I haven’t read the book yet – it’s definitely on my summer reading list.

  3. Kelsie Kleinmeyer

    Mindy and Tina’s books are the BEST! I’m looking forward to reading the others. Thanks!

  4. I’ve read all but three of these! Guess I should finish up the list. 🙂 Mindy Kaling’s books are amazing. Also, I think you would love Anna Kendrick’s book Scrappy Little Nobody! It’s one of my favorites ever.

    1. OMG Thank you!!! As I was writing this, I kept thinking, “there is another memoir I’ve been dying to read” but couldn’t think of it – and it’s Kendrick’s! Definitely hitting the library today! thank you!

  5. Ashley Vickney

    Saving this post so that I can buy all these books later! I love Mindy Kaling, Bossypants, and Girl Boss! Such GREAT recommendations Rachel!

  6. I’ve read so many of these, but adding the remainder to my list!

  7. I Love this, not normally books that find their way onto my list but they sounds like great reads! I’ll definitely have to hunt them out

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