What People Aren’t Hiding | Memoir Previews, Feb. 2018

Allen, Tina Alexis. Hiding Out: A Story of Family, Secrecy, and Devotion. Dey Street: HarperCollins. Feb. 2018. 288p. ISBN 9780062565679. $26.99; ebk. ISBN 9780062565709. MEMOIR
Raised a devout Catholic in a family of 13 dominated by a strict, British-born father, GLAAD Award–nominated actress/playwright Allen led a wild-hare adolescence and was terrified when her father learned that she liked girls. Then he confessed that he, too, was gay, and they joined in a series of increasingly outré escapades until she discovered his multiple passports and secret stash of cash, revealing that he had a double life beyond what even she knew. With a 100,000-copy first printing.

Bowler, Kate. Everything Happens for a Reason: And Other Lies I’ve Loved. Random. Feb. 2018. 208p. ISBN 9780399592065. $26; ebk. ISBN 9780399592072. Downloadable: Random Audio. MEMOIR
A divinity professor and historian of the American Prosperity Gospel—the megachurch promise that you’ll be rewarded for good behavior and  get what you want if you want it enough—Bowler found she craved the same sense of certainty when she was diagnosed with Stage IV colon cancer. Now, she realized, her husband and child would be moving on without her. What was God’s reason, as the pious would say, for her leaving them so soon? Expanded from a popular essay published on Valentine’s Day, 2016, in the New York Times.

Lahidji, Changiz & Ralph Pezzullo. Full Battle Rattle: My Story as the Longest-Serving Special Forces A-Team Soldier in American History. St. Martin’s. Feb. 2018. 304p. ISBN 9781250121158. $26.99; ebk. ISBN 9781250121165. CD: Macmillan Audio. MEMOIR
Retired Master Sergeant Lahidji served longer than anyone on U.S. Special Forces teams, completing over 100 missions. Along the way, he entered Tehran on a one-man spying mission, was shot by Hezbollah terrorists, witnessed the events that inspired Black Hawk Down, disguised himself as a farmer to find Osama Bin Laden for the CIA, and won numerous medals. He’s also the first Muslim Green Beret, which makes this a big story.

Lynch, David & Kristine McKenna. Room To Dream: A Life in Art. Random. Feb. 2018. 496p. ISBN 9780399589195. $32; ebk. ISBN 9780399589201. CD/downloadable: Random Audio. MEMOIR
This unique peek into the imagination of one-of-a-kind filmmaker Lynch, who’s brought us everything from Eraserhead to Twin Peaks, works as both memoir and biography. Lynch’s personal reflections on the creative process are offset by telescoped biographical sections from critic/journalist McKenna, who’s been interviewing him since 1977 and also spoke with Lynch’s family, friends, and colleagues to round out the picture. Expect demand, Lynch’s last book, Catching the Big Fish, has sold 100,000 copies.

Mealer, Bryan. The Kings of Big Spring: God, Oil, and One Family’s Search for the American Dream. Flatiron: Macmillan. Feb. 2018. 384p. ISBN 9781250058911. $27.99; ebk. ISBN 9781250058935. MEMOIR
In 1981, Mealer’s father, Bobby, was lured home with his family to Big Spring, TX, a town that had seen oil booms and busts and was now booming again. A friend named Grady Cunningham, billed as a real-life J.R. Ewing, had called to ask, “How’d you like to be a millionaire?” As vice-president of Cunningham’s oil company, Bobby was drawn into a gilt-edged lifestyle that included weekending in the Bahamas, courtesy of private jets, but there was a dark side to all the good fortune. Mealer, meanwhile, tracks his family’s search for something better to his great-grandfather’s departure from Appalachia. One of the publisher’s big books of the season.

Westover, Tara. Educated: A Memoir. Random. Feb. 2018. 352p. ISBN 9780399590504. $28; ebk. ISBN 9780399590511. CD/downloadable: Random Audio MEMOIR
Raised in the Idaho mountains by survivalist parents who eschewed schooling and doctors (burns and concussions were treated with herbs), Westover hungered so powerfully for education that she taught herself, getting to Brigham Young University and eventually Cambridge University for a Ph.D. in history. This story of reinvention and the value of learning is one of the publisher’s big books of the season.

Barbara Hoffert About Barbara Hoffert

Barbara Hoffert (bhoffert@mediasourceinc.com, @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.

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