Are you a memoir aficionado? 2016 was the renaissance of women-written biographies, and trust us — these reads are life-changers. We handpicked six stunning memoirs that offer touchingly brave insights on family dynamics, tumultuous relationships and the unbreakable fortitude of family bonds and human spirit.


1. Stepmother by Marianne Lile ($13): Stepping into the role of motherhood is the bravest venture of any woman’s life — but taking on the role of stepmother requires even thicker skin. Marianne Lile shares her journey of battling the negative stigma attached to the word “stepmother,” unexpected parenting complexities and her ultimate victory in becoming a beloved and respected stepmom. Readers will be left with a renewed and redefined understanding of motherhood and a substantially deeper respect for it.


2. Army Wife by Vicki Cody ($16): Vicki Cody is about to send shock waves of wife goals throughout the nation. A loyal army wife for more than three decades, Cody shares her soul-stirring wisdom to keeping a marriage and family rock-solid in the face of war, uncertainty and prolonged loneliness. Don’t dive into this patriotic treat without a tissue box; you’ll need it.


3. The Rainbow Comes and Goes by Gloria Vanderbilt and Anderson Cooper ($17): If you haven’t yet taken the deep dive into Gloria Vanderbilt and son Anderson Cooper’s gorgeous ode to their mother-son relationship, this is the bestseller that lives up to the hype. Both Vanderbilt and Cooper share the highs, lows and triumphs in maintaining their special bond in the face of consuming careers and harsh realities. Bursting with irreplaceable wisdom and advice, this memoir is a true celebration of the bond between mother and child.


4.River of Time by Naomi Judd ($19): Depression isn’t a one-man show; it wreaks emotional havoc on any family when one person suffers from it. Country superstar Naomi Judd courageously shares her heartbreaking ride from a troubling childhood, rape, abuse and single motherhood to battling severe treatment-resistant depression and anxiety, a battle rarely spoken about. This poignant memoir triples as a message of hope, courage and a starkly inspiring reminder that humans can get through anything.


5. A Mother’s Reckoning by Sue Klebold and Andrew Solomon ($17): Like most of the nation, Sue Klebold was devastated when the news broke of the infamous Columbine shootings. Her horror reached a whole new level when she discovered the identity of one of the shooters: her son. A hauntingly honest account of one mother’s emotionally harrowing journey of facing the impossible, A Mother’s Reckoning is a nauseatingly painful wound on every page — a wound every mother should read about.


6. Boys in the Trees by Carly Simon ($12): This instant #1 New York Times bestseller belongs in every girl’s stocking this Christmas; we can’t imagine a lady boss who won’t devour it. Rockstar and feminist icon Carly Simon shares her vibrant childhood surrounded by arts, music, culture and life-changing secrets that would eventually tear her family apart. An honest portrait of fame and the mistakes we can all make, Boys in the Trees is one of winter’s most talked about memoirs for good reason.

What memoirs are you reading? Share them with us @BritandCo!

(Featured photo via Getty)