I don’t read memoirs or biographies very often. Most of the time, there might be one every year or two that I pick up and enjoy, but frequently not even that many. I’m a novel reader for the most part, but every now and then, a great bio comes along that changes everything.
Except in the month of October 2019, there were three of them, all extremely different from one another. I wanted to highlight them here, in the hopes that my readers may check them out as well.
WHAM!, George and Me
Andrew Ridgeley has long been known as “that other guy in WHAM!” To fans like me, though, he was a bit more than that. I grew up a tremendous fan of WHAM! and George Michael, and Andrew’s memoir of his time with George in WHAM! is a fun trip down memory lane. As a mega-fan, I knew a lot of the stories here already, having lived through them at the time, but there were some new gems as well, and some things I’d damn near forgotten about. For fans of George Michael’s incalculable talent or even just of 80s culture in general, this is a fun romp.
Side note: Like so many inexplicable decisions made surrounding George Michael’s music releases in the United States, the book is entitled WHAM!, George Michael and Me for us yanks.
Me: Elton John Official Autobiography
What can I say? Elton John rocks, and this is a must-read for any fan. It’ll have you laughing and crying, sometimes at nearly the same moment, and it gives remarkable insight into his life, career, and creative process.
I was born just a little too late to have lived through Elton’s 70s era, but I was a big fan of his body of work throughout my life. It was a ton of fun to read about the first quarter or so of his career that I missed experiencing first-hand.
Unfollow: A Memoir of Loving and Leaving the Westboro Baptist Church
Megan Phelps-Roper is a remarkable woman. This memoir chronicles her life inside the toxic Westboro Baptist Church, her realizations about what they were doing, and her subsequent escape. It is one of the best books I’ve ever read—and certainly the best memoir. If you only read one memoir this year, this is the one. It’s an emotional ride that will stick with you long after you’ve finished it.