Memoir Previews: Apr. 2023, Pt. 3 | Prepub Alert

Memoir as storytelling. 

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Auder, Alexandra. Don’t Call Me Home: A Memoir. Viking. Apr. 2023. 336p. ISBN 9780593299951. $27. MEMOIR

Born to Warhol star Viva and filmmaker Michel Auder (in the lobby of the famed Chelsea Hotel, no less), Auder spent her childhood swinging from the hotel to her father’s Tribeca loft and her mother’s conservative, upper-crust Connecticut family home while often joining Viva on her gigs. Now an actress and performance artist, Auder recalls a life lived between two magnetic personalities amid New York’s fabled downtown arts scene. With a 25,000-copy first printing.

Aziz, Omer. Brown Boy: A Memoir. Scribner. Apr. 2023. 320p. ISBN 9781982136314. $28. CD. MEMOIR

The son of working-class Pakistani Canadian parents, Aziz proved his love of books and belief in education by winning scholarships to Queen’s University in Ontario, Sciences Po in Paris, Cambridge University in England, and Yale Law School in the United States. But as he explains here, he never got over the sense of shame, uncertainty, and powerlessness that comes from being a brown-skinned boy in an elitist white world.

Bilger, Burkhard. Fatherland: A Memoir of War, Conscience, and Family Secrets. Random. Apr. 2023. 352p. ISBN 9780385353984. $28.99. Downloadable. MEMOIR

After World War II, Bilger’s family moved from Germany to Oklahoma, and his mother never spoke of her father. Finally, Bilger, a New Yorker staff writer, learned that his grandfather had been a Nazi Party member, sent to occupied France to turn one village’s children into “proper Germans,” though eventually he sought to protect them. In 1946, he was accused of war crimes. Through research, interviews, and travel, Bilger reconstructs his grandfather’s war activities while asking key questions about truth and responsibility. Big buzz.

Chin, Ava. Mott Street: A Chinese American Family’s Story of Exclusion and Homecoming. Penguin Pr. Apr. 2023. 400p. ISBN 9780525557371. $28. MEMOIR

The only child of a single mother who knew nothing about her forebears, Chin spent decades reconstructing her family history. Here, she traces their emigration from China’s Pearl River delta, their work on the transcontinental railroad while facing the racism of frontier towns, and their arrival in New York’s Chinatown, all the while exploring the brutal consequences of the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882. Chin’s LJ best-booked Eating Wildly won the M.F.K. Fisher Award; with a 50,000-copy first printing.

Chin-Quee, Anthony. I Can’t Save You: A Memoir. Riverhead. Apr. 2023. 304p. ISBN 9780593418888. $27. MEMOIR

Chin-Quee describes himself as a "not white, mostly Black, and questionably Asian man" and explains that he grew up dealing with a family history of depression and his own sense of inadequacy. But succeed he did; he’s a board-certified otolaryngologist with degrees from Harvard and Emory University School of Medicine. He’s also an award-winning storyteller with the Moth, and as he relates his own life, he argues for the healing and instructive power of storytelling.

Lee, Julia. Biting the Hand: Growing Up Asian in Black and White America. Holt. Apr. 2023. 256p. ISBN 9781250824677. $26.99. MEMOIR

The daughter of Korean immigrant store owners in a predominantly Black neighborhood in Los Angeles, Lee was compelled to question issues of identity and complicity following the 1992 race riots, the acquittal of the white police officers who beat Rodney King, and the killing of Black teenager Latasha Harlins by a Korean shopkeeper. She started getting answers as a PhD student in English literature who found her inspiration not in Jane Austen but in authors like James Baldwin and Toni Morrison. With a 75,000-copy first printing.

McDonell, Terry. Irma: The Education of a Mother’s Son. Harper. Apr. 2023. 256p. ISBN 9780063277977. $24.99. MEMOIR

Over the last five decades, McDonnell has proved himself as a publishing executive (e.g., as editor in chief of Esquire and cofounder of LitHub) and as a writer (e.g., the novel California Bloodstock, the memoir The Accidental Life, and the screenplay for Miami Vice). Here he relates his realization that all these accomplishments were made possible by his mother, Irma, who was widowed young and raised him self-effacingly but with toughness and smarts to make his own life. With a 35,000-copy first printing.

Rosen, Jonathan. The Best Minds: A Story of Friendship, Madness, and the Tragedy of Good Intentions. Penguin Pr. Apr. 2023. 560p. ISBN 9781594206573. $32. MEMOIR

Rosen tells the story of his closest childhood friend, Michael Laudor, who graduated summa cum laude from college, then suffered a psychotic break that landed him in a psychiatric hospital with the diagnosis of paranoid schizophrenia. As reported in the New York Times and a memoir whose film rights were acquired by Ron Howard, Michael overcame adversity and graduated from Yale Law School. Then, as his illness resurfaced, he stabbed his devoted girlfriend Carrie Costello to death. With a 50,000-copy first printing.

Wallace, Daniel. This Isn’t Going To End Well: The True Story of a Man I Thought I Knew. Algonquin. Apr. 2023. 224p. ISBN 9781643752105. $28. Downloadable. CD. MEMOIR

Author of the celebrated Big Fish, basis of the movie and musical, novelist Wallace turns to nonfiction in this account of his gifted friend and brother-in-law, William Nealy. Both devastated and angry when famed cartoonist/outdoorsman Nealy took his own life at age 48, Wallace committed his own act of betrayal, which finally led him to Nealy’s hidden pain and a new view of Nealy’s life. With a 50,000-copy first printing.

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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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