Memoir: Lives and Lessons, Mar. 2024, Pt. 4 | Prepub Alert

Growing up, learning about oneself, aging gracefully.

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Alford, Natasha S. American Negra. Harper. Mar. 2024. 256p. ISBN 9780063237100. $29.99. CD. MEMOIR

DeRuiter, Geraldine. If You Can’t Take the Heat: Tales of Food, Feminism, and Fury. Crown. Mar. 2024. 336p. ISBN 9780593444481. $28.99. MEMOIR

Figueroa, Jamie. Mother Island: A Daughter Claims Puerto Rico. Pantheon. Mar. 2024. 272p. ISBN 9780553387681. $29. MEMOIR

Hulls, Tessa. Feeding Ghosts: A Graphic Memoir. MCD: Farrar. Mar. 2024. 400p. ISBN 9780374601652. $40. MEMOIR

Lieu, Susan. The Manicurist’s Daughter: A Memoir. Celadon: Macmillan. Mar. 2024. 320p. ISBN 9781250835048. $30. Downloadable. MEMOIR

Raboteau, Emily. Lessons for Survival. Holt. Mar. 2024. 304p. ISBN 9781250809766. $29.99. Downloadable. MEMOIR

Russell, Cameron. How To Make Herself Agreeable to Everyone: A Memoir. Random. Mar. 2024. 224p. ISBN 9780593595480. $29. MEMOIR

Slater, Lyn. How To Be Old: Lessons in Living Boldly from the Accidental Icon. Plume: Random. Mar. 2024. 256p. ISBN 9780593471791. $28. MEMOIR

Sun, Carrie. Private Equity: A Memoir. Penguin Pr. Feb. 2024. 352p. ISBN 9780593654996. $29. MEMOIR

Yang, Kao Kalia. Where Rivers Part: A Story of My Mother’s Life. Atria. Mar. 2024. 320p. ISBN 9781982185299. $28.99. MEMOIR

An award-winning journalist who created and hosts TheGrio network and website, Alford examines her dual sense of self as a Black woman and a Puerto Rican woman in America Negra (20,000-copy first printing). Responding to Mario Batali’s wan apology for sexual harassment, the James Beard Award–winning blogger DeRuiter wrote an essay that drew millions of readers (and physical threats); If You Can’t Take the Heat covers her ups and downs in the world of gastronomy. Novelist Figueroa (Brother, Sister, Mother, Explorer) was raised by a Puerto Rican mother abandoned by her family and intent on assimilation; in Mother Island, she discusses healing from a fractured childhood and discovering her Puerto Rican self as an adult. In the graphic memoir Feeding Ghosts, author/illustrator Hulls surveys three generations of women, starting with her Chinese grandmother, a Shanghai-based journalist who fled the 1949 Communist takeover for Hong Kong with her daughter, and ending with her own flight from family and subsequent return to understand how it has shaped her (75,000-copy first printing). In The Manicurist’s Daughter, playwright/performer Lieu tells the heartbreaking story of her family’s 1980s escape from Vietnam after five attempts and their opening two successful nail salons in the United States, only to have her mother die following unnecessary plastic surgery; a related solo theater show had a successful 10-city tour. A Hurston/Wright finalist for Searching for Zion, Raboteau contemplates race, climate change, and social justice as she considers how best to raise children today in Lessons for Survival (100,000-copy first printing). In How To Make Herself Agreeable to Everyone, TED-talking fashion model Russell explains how and why she helped organize a movement to bring more equity (and less distance between appearance and self) to her industry. Founder of the fashion blog Accidental Icon, septuagenarian Slater explains How To Be Old—naturally, happily, and with self-acceptance. The daughter of Chinese immigrants, Sun triumphed in school and (with some detours) clambered successfully up the corporate ladder but found herself physically and mentally devastated by her job; Private Equity reminds us of the need to examine our relationship to work. Recalling Yang’s The Latehomecomer, an NEA Big Read, Where Rivers Part follows Yang’s Hmong mother, who fled Laos with her family, separated from them (forever) to marry while in a refugee camp, and with her husband eventually brought their children to the United States, where the parents enrolled in high school at age 30 while still working to support the family.

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Barbara Hoffert

Barbara Hoffert (, @BarbaraHoffert on Twitter) is Editor, LJ Prepub Alert; winner of ALA's Louis Shores Award for reviewing; and past president, awards chair, and treasurer of the National Book Critics Circle, which awarded her its inaugural Service Award in 2023.

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