Below are some fantastic autobiographies of immense hardships faced and personal battles overcome. They’re our picks for a great read with a healthy dose of inspiration.
‘I am Malala’ by Malala Yousafzai
Malala Yousafzai is truly an inspiration. She is the youngest ever recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize for defying the Taliban’s orders and standing up for the education of young women. I am Malala is powerful recounting of the harrowing incident in which Malala was shot in the head at point-blank range for speaking up about her beliefs and civil liberties. Malala’s story is equal parts heartbreaking and utterly inspiring. A story of courage, she delves into her personal story of recovery from her injury to the continued struggle for women and girls’ education. It is a powerful story of global relevance, and a riveting read.
‘Mao’s Last Dancer’ by Li Cunxin
An international bestseller, this is a riveting autobiography about Li Cunxin’s humble beginnings as a peasant in Mao’s China and his journey to become one of the greatest dancers of his generation. Told anecdotally, the novel is an inspiring read about an exceedingly talented ballet dancer who overcame the challenges of his class in communist China in pursuit of the role he was destined to play.
‘Angela’s Ashes’ by Frank McCourt
This Pulitzer prize-winning novel by Frank McCourt details his upbringing by Irish-immigrant parents during the Depression. Despite alcoholism and unemployment, the storytelling abilities of his father give McCourt sense of wonderment about the world despite his youth being spent in dire poverty.
‘The Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American slave’ by Frederick Douglass
This stirring text is a beautifully written memoir penned in 1845 by the famous orator and former slave Frederick Douglass. He recounts his own experience escaping from slavery and his fight to help others do the same. It is an eloquent and confronting exposition of the abhorrent treatment of enslaved people and the rise of the abolition movement. Now recognised as a classic text in American literature, this is a must-read if you’re interested in American History and the inspirational individuals that shone light in its darkest moments.
‘The Happiest Refugee’ by Anh Do
In this “journey from tragedy to comedy” popular Australian comedian Anh Do details the events that took him from war-torn Vietnam to the shores of Australia. He recounts his journey with his entire family on an overcrowded boat as they make their way to what they hope to be a better life. The realities of being a refugee in Australia set in as Do and his family face everyday hardship and discrimination. Through a blend of humorous events, lighthearted family moments and heartbreaking stories, Do’s story explores humanity in a way only comics can.
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