Memoirs from Pearl Cleage, Diane Keaton, Rob Lowe, Frances Mayes, & More | Nonfiction Prevews, Apr. 2014, Pt. 4

Brockmeier, Kevin. A Few Seconds of Radiant Filmstrip: A Memoir of Seventh Grade. Pantheon. Apr. 2014. 208p. ISBN 9780307908988. $24. MEMOIR
A think-outside-the-box kind of novelist who has won the Nelson Algren and Italo Calvino Short Fiction awards, as well as three O. Henry Prizes, Brockmeier has published two story collections and three adult novels, including The Brief History of the Dead. That startling novel alone recommends this memoir on the terrors of middle school.

Cleage, Pearl. Things I Should Have Told My Daughter: Lies, Lessons, & Love Affairs. Atria. Apr. 2014. 320P. ISBN 9781451664690. $23.99. MEMOIR
A high-profile playwright (Flyin’ West) and novelist (What Looks Like Crazy on an Ordinary Day), Cleage tracks her development as a writer while reflecting on what she was doing when she wasn’t writing nonstop—balancing family responsibilities with her political work with Maynard Jackson, Atlanta’s first African American mayor.

Dokoupil, Tony. The Last Pirate: A Father, His Son, and the Golden Age of Marijuana. Doubleday. Apr. 2014. 304p. ISBN 9780385533461. $26.95. MEMOIR
He may be a senior writer for NBC News with a master’s degree from Columbia University, but Dokoupil has an unexpectedly colorful background story to tell: his father was top dog in the 1980s Miami marijuana trade. Dokoupil’s July 2009 Newsweek cover story on his father was a huge hit, which bodes well for this book.

Greer, Judy. I Don’t Know What You Know Me From: Confessions of a Co-Star. Doubleday. Apr. 2014. 256p. ISBN 9780385537889. $25.95. MEMOIR
Remember Greer from her roles in movies like The Wedding Planner and The Descendants? She’s here with a set of recollections that reflect her celebrity status (she dishes on the eye-drawing actor who gave her father a Harley Davidson) while revealing that she’s just one of us (those midnight shopping sprees, her feelings about having stepchildren). Lots of news already in the entertainment media.

Keaton, Diane. Let’s Just Say It Wasn’t Pretty. Random. Apr. 2014. 176p. ISBN 9780812994261. $26. MEMOIR
What’s it like to have a makeup artist recommend that you get your eyes fixed? Just how embarrassing is it to shop at Victoria’s Secret for “Unwrap Me” panties with your teenaged daughter? Even an Academy Award–winning actor like Keaton knows that. Big promotion to the over-40 crowd.

Lowe, Rob. Love Life. S. & S. Apr. 2014. 352p. ISBN 9781451685718. $27. MEMOIR
In this follow-up to Stories I Only Tell My Friends, Lowe goes funny (having a famous movie star filch his girlfriend, about which he seems remarkably upbeat), practical (how he goes about preparing for a role), and moving (what it was like to get his son ready for the college education he never had).

Mayes, Frances. Under Magnolia: A Southern Memoir. Crown. Apr. 2014. 320p. ISBN 9780307885913. $26. CD: Random Audio. MEMOIR
And now for something completely different from Mayes, which is good. She’s given us several beloved multi-million-copy best-selling memoirs about Tuscany, where she has long had a home (or two). But it’s time to move on, and here she revisits her childhood memories of Fitzgerald, GA, to show how Southern tradition has shaped her. Can she do for peach pie what she did for Parmesan flan?


Barbara Hoffert About Barbara Hoffert

Barbara Hoffert (, @BarbaraHoffert on Twitter) is Editor, LJ Prepub Alert; past chair of the Materials Selection Committee of the RUSA (Reference and User Services Assn.) division of the American Library Association; and past president, treasurer, and awards chair of the National Book Critics Circle.