The word ‘femoir’ was first coined by Kaitlin Fontana in August 2012. Fontana charted the growth of a new literary genre – “memoirs written by female comedians”. However, over the last few years, femoirs have become increasingly popular and the focus has shifted from female comedians to amplifying the voices of women. Femoirs occupy an important space in literature not only because they promote women’s empowerment but also because they educate and inspire us. Here is a list of 10 popular femoirs you should read.

01

Yes Please

Amy Poehler

Poehler is an American comedian, actress, writer, director, and producer, known for Parks And Recreation, and Saturday Night Live. In Yes Please, she offers a rich collection of her personal stories, photographs, and poems. Bits on sex, love, friendship, and parenthood will make you laugh. She has also included some useful and some not-so-useful mantras and advice like when to be funny and when not to be. Yes Please also features instances from her childhood and early career. This book is a charming, hilarious, smart and inspirational read. If you are an Amy Poehler fan, you will feel closer to her after reading her femoir.

Buy it here.

02

The Girl With The Lower Back Tattoo

Amy Schumer

Emmy Award-winner for Inside Amy Schumer, and star of the highly acclaimed film, Trainwreck, Schumer is a well-known comedian, writer, and actress. The Girl With The Lower Back Tattoo is a collection of Schumer’s personal and observational essays. In the book, she talks about how her life changed after her parents lost all their money, her dad developed M.S., and soon after, her parents’ marriage collapsed. She talks about her teenage years, her family, her romantic and sexual relationships, her hatred of watercress, her bowel movements before a show, and the experiences that shaped her into who she is. The Girl With The Lower Back Tatto is one of the most popular femoirs and proves Schumer’s capabilities both as a storyteller and a comedian.

Buy it here.

03

Bossypants

Tina Fey

Tina Fey is the genius behind 30 Rock and one of the most influential comedians working today. In Bossypants, Fey narrates the story of her life from her youthful days as a nerd to the tour of duty at Saturday Light Live; from a one-sided college romance to an almost fatal honeymoon; and from her half-hearted pursuit of physical beauty to a mother eating food off the floor. Bossypants tells us what improv comedy taught her about life and also, what she learned about comedy from life.

Buy it here.

04

Not That Kind Of Girl

Lena Dunham

Dunham is an American writer, director, actress, and producer, known as the star and writer of HBO series Girls. In Not That Kind Of Girl, Dunham shares stories of harassment at the workplace, her two existential crises before turning 20, her successful and not-so-successful travels, and having the kind of sex where you feel like wearing your sneakers in case you have to run away during the act. Not That Kind Of Girl is hilarious, smart, and heartbreakingly honest at the same time.

Buy it here.

05

Bad Feminist

Roxane Gay

With Bad Feminist, Gay takes us on a cultural journey of the last few years and comments on the state of feminism in today’s world. It is a collection of political and feminist essays, divided into five sections- me; gender and sexuality; politics, gender and race; race and entertainment; and back to me. In this book, she also attempts to understand herself, society and culture, and talks about her evolution as a woman of colour. One of the best femoirs out there, Bad Feminist is a funny and smart take on how we become a part of the culture we consume.

Buy it here.

06

How To Be A Woman

Caitlin Moran

In How To Be A Woman, Moran documents her early life- from her teens to mid-thirties- and shares her views on feminism. She argues that even though it is a good time to be a woman, as they have the right to vote, and are no longer burned as witches, modern women still have many questions they need answered. Do men secretly hate women? Why can’t people stop asking them when they are having babies? Part rant and part femoir, How To Be A Woman serves almost as a feminist manifesto.

Buy it here.

07

My Life On The Road

Gloria Steinem

Steinem is one of the most well-known feminists in the world. She has spent much of her life travelling- as an activist, journalist, and speaker. In My Life On The Road, she gives us an account of her travels by sharing stories that span her entire career. She writes about early exposure to social activism in India, her experience organising movements in America, and the various women she met on the road. My Life On The Road showcases how Steinem herself has changed and grown during her life-long quest for equality.

Buy it here.

08

Shrill: Notes From A Loud Woman

Lindy West

In Shrill, West relates how she discovered that she is a ‘loud’ woman in a world where women are expected to be as quiet as possible. She takes us through her journey from hiding her big body to her struggle to convince herself and society that fat people have value. She also talks about her public fight with stand-up comedians over rape jokes, her never-ending battle with Internet trolls, and her accidental activism. One of the most acclaimed femoirs, Shrill teaches us how to survive in a world where people are treated differently because of their bodies, and how to deal with hatred, harassment, and loneliness.

Buy it here.

09

How To Murder Your Life

Cat Marnell

How To Murder Your Life is the account of Marnell’s life from a privileged childhood to a pill-popping addict. She recalls dreaming of working at a glamorous women’s fashion magazine when she was 15. However, her addiction to ADHD medicines led to a dependency on other prescription drugs like Xanax. She talks about her struggles with keeping her job as a beauty editor at Condé Nast during the day while her life was centred around parties and pills at night. How To Murder Your Life provides an account of a young female addict who came dangerously close to wasting her entire life.

Buy it here.

Have you read any of these femoirs? Can you recommend some more femoirs? Share with us in the comments.

Ankit Mahawar

Ankit Mahawar

Ankit loves stories, be it in any form- print, media or theatre. After reading Angels and Demons, he fell in love with books, especially suspense, thriller, and fantasy. He is a big fan of Harry Potter series. He quit his engineering career to become a writer and currently works with The Curious Reader. Apart from writing he also loves filmmaking, photography, traveling and cooking. You can reach him on Instagram.