In modernity, cultures and races mingle at an ever-increasing rate. Now, more than ever, there’s an urgent need for us to understand each other. Through memoirs, one can penetrate the veil of the other by accompanying them on their life journey. Some books will move you, sometimes brings tears to your eyes, and other times it opens you to the realities of a person’s life. Memoirs are powerful tools that will change the lives of both the writer and the readers. Today, we list down five of the most powerful memoir of this decade.

All You Can Ever Know by Nicole Chung

This beloved memoir delves deep into an extraordinary self-discovery story in a raw and honest way. This follows Nicole Chung, born from Korean parents and adopted by a white family. Growing up facing prejudice, adoption stories, and racial discrimination, she finds herself questioning her identity. In All You Can Ever Know, the writer shares a startling insight into her painful journey through life. This profound, moving book chronicles the grand complexity of love, family, and identity while pointing out that the truth may set you free. All You Can Ever Know is vital reading for anyone who has ever struggled to figure out where they belong.

The Face of Hunger by Dr. Byron Conner

A deeply moving memoir that revisits¬†Dr. Conner’s experiences in Ethiopia, offering an honest, nuanced, and compassionate look at people who suffer from hunger. Dr. Conner emotionally relays his journey of the largest humanitarian crisis that many countries suffer from to this day. The book offers a poignant depiction of the terrifying realities marginalized people live today. But what shines through this powerful book is his clear-eyed compassion for all people and his bold pursuit to help every single famine-inflicted civilian. The Face of Hunger will be of enduring value to people looking for a reason to serve others, even in little ways.¬†

Men We Reaped by Jesmyn Ward

After several bestseller novels, author Jesmyn Ward dives back into writing another story, but this time it’s her life story. In Men We Reaped, she explored the heartbreaking consequences of a self-destructive spiral born from hopelessness. Having grown up in a relentless neighborhood, selling and using drugs and alcohol is the only means of living but bears no good seed. Jesmyn analyzes how this led to the death of five young men close to her heart. She writes with such clarity that her revelations could very well change the way readers understand the world. In this book, the author unburies the dead, that they may live again forever in writing. Men We Reaped will always be a sorrowing tribute to all beautiful men who supposedly have good lives ahead but taken so early. 

Negroland by Margo Jefferson

Margo Jefferson offers an enlightening look at privilege, discrimination, and the fallacy of post-racial America in Negroland. Growing up in the upper-crust black Chicago in the 40s, the author is exposed to the harsh truth of life. She deftly identifies and explores the tensions that come with being part of America’s black elite. Her intricate and lyrical narration offers a melancholic and hopeful, raw and disarming memoir of our time. Negroland shares Margo’s story while at the same time not only evocatively capture her era, a situation her experiences into centuries-long cultural tradition. 

Educated by Tara Westover

Education is probably the most powerful weapon a person can carry, and Tara Westover will surely agree. Educated is an extraordinary retelling of her undertaking to receive the education she needed. Having been kept out of school, the author leaves her survivalist family to pursue something they abhor: earn a Ph.D. from elite Cambridge University. Dubbed as a bestseller, this unforgettable memoir of a young woman is truly beautiful and propulsive. Tara somehow managed to capture her exceptional upbringing and her difficulties which resonate with many disadvantaged teens today. Educated is a must-read to help you stride beyond the limitations set before getting to the beautiful life waiting on the other side.