Love memoirs? Already read all the classics? Use these graphic memoirs to elevate your autobiography game.
Using a simplistic style that combines photographs and paper doll-like cutouts, Mira Jacob explores the intersection between identity, connection, and story in this “memoir in conversations.” What she finds is sometimes funny, sometimes profound, and sometimes a bit of both.
That’s the question at the heart of Roz Chast’s first memoir, which chronicles the last years of her parents’ lives and, eventually, their deaths. Best known for her New Yorker comics, Chast brings her trademark wit, humor, and empathy to discuss a topic that most of us would rather avoid.
Thi Bui’s “illustrated memoir” tackles the past and the future, telling the story of her family’s escape from Vietnam in the aftermath of the Vietnam War and chronicling her changing relationship with her history as she herself becomes a mother. The Best We Could Do is, at its heart, a story about family and what it means to belong to one.
Many memoirs are primarily concerned with the personal, but March centers itself in the larger story of the social and political upheaval of 1960s America. Following one of the Civil Rights Movement's greatest champions, March offers a visceral and emotional account of this chapter in the struggle for equal rights in America.
Maus may be the most well-known WWII graphic memoir, but it isn’t the only one. Onward Toward Our Noble Deaths uses surrealist, chaotic art and historical photos to explore the author’s experiences as a soldier on Papua New Guinea at the end of the war. It’s not an easy read, but it is a good and important one.
One for the foodies! Relish is the food-filled story of the author’s childhood in and around the kitchen. Each chapter is a self-contained vignette that ends in an illustrated recipe. It’s cute, fun, and might even inspire you to play around more in the kitchen.
Many of the memoirs on this list—and memoirs in general—are concerned with identity, perhaps none more tactilely than Maia Kobabe’s Gender Queer. In it, the author charts a journey through the confusion of adolescence, alternative pronouns, how and when and if to come out, and creates a guide for others along the way. The art is skillfully simple and the story cathartic; great for fans of Alison Bechdel and Kat Leyh.
Find these books (and more!) in the non-fiction section at the end of the graphic novels shelf.