At the end of a long day, one of the best ways to relax is to unwind with a great book. But even the most avid of readers can crave a change of pace in their daily reading. The best celebrity memoirs are an easy way to make reading exciting, allowing you to dive into the real life behind the scenes of the big names you already know and love.
If you’re craving some pages to turn, you’re not alone. A 2021 survey polled 2,000 respondents in the United Kingdom regarding their thoughts on paper books versus digital books. Close to half (46%) enjoy physically turning pages and 42 percent prefer the feel of a physical book in their hands. One in four say they love the smell of paper books. Meanwhile, another 32 percent feel like they become much more immersed in the story while reading a paper book and 16 percent go for traditional books because they remind them of libraries.
But whether the book is in your hands or on your smart device, reading has indisputable benefits for mental and physical health. In fact, recent research finds that leisurely mental activities like reading and writing for pleasure can reduce someone’s chances of cognitive decline by 23 percent. Even the youngest among us can benefit, with a recent Ohio State University study finding that reading five books a day to your children exposes them to about 1.4 million more words by kindergarten than those children who did not have books read to them.
Ready to get reading? Diving into the lives of celebrities can reveal funny, shocking, and poignant truths from behind the curtain. And in many cases, we can all stand to learn a thing or two from their interesting life experiences. To help find your next read, StudyFinds searched the internet for expert opinions on the best celebrity memoirs of all time. We put together this list of the five most frequently recommended titles, but if you have a favorite that we missed, be sure to let us know in the comments!
The List: Best Celebrity Memoirs Ranked by Expert Reviews
From her singing career to her fashion line and everything in between, many of us know Jessica Simpson by her work. But in Open Book, Simpson reveals the personal battles, victories, and lessons she’s learned behind the scenes. “I went into Open Book expecting a light, fun read from one of my favorite reality stars of all time,” remarks a Vogue reviewer. “Instead, I was blown away by an honest, funny, and touching memoir, which is so rarely the case with celebrity ‘tell-alls.’”
“No one predicted that a pop star turned fashion mogul would deliver one of the most barn-burning books of 2020, but with Open Book, Jessica Simpson defied expectations,” Esquire claims. “When Simpson hit rock bottom on Halloween 2017, deep in the grips of an addiction to alcohol and sleeping pills, she turned inward, sorting through decades of diaries to make sense of her personal history. Something in Simpson broke open that day, inspiring her to write this achingly honest memoir of fame, fortune, and heartbreak.”
Simpson’s memoir reflects both on her time in the spotlight and her inner struggles, meaning everyone can find a takeaway within its pages. “In ‘Open Book,’ Jessica Simpson recounts her highly public past with honest, raw, and sometimes painful self-reflection,” notes Business Insider. “Once the focus of countless tabloids, Simpson opens up about the lifelong personal struggles she faced while subjected to ridicule about everything from her body to her past relationships.”
Whether you know Matthew McConaughey for his long list of starring movie roles or for his now famous car commercials, his catalogue makes him difficult to miss. But in Greenlights, McConaughey steps into a different role as the writer of his own story. “The Texas native spent 52 days in the desert while writing the book,” says IndieWire. “‘Greenlights’ invites readers to travel through the honest and remarkably candid stories and insight learned during McConaughey’s life.”
“Matthew McConaughey has kept journals for most of his life and, before writing this memoir, sat down with his collected memories and found a central theme of accepting life’s inevitable challenges and ‘catching greenlights,'” explains Business Insider. “This memoir is both an inspirational and inspired collection of McConaughey’s greatest life lessons and advice, narrated with his signature charm.”
“Only Matthew McConaughey could have written Greenlights, a brain-bending blend of memoir, poetry, music, self-help, and journals, all assembled during a 52-day solitary confinement,” claims Esquire. When the pandemic struck, McConaughey locked himself away to write as much as 21 hours a day. The result was Greenlights, a rollicking account of ‘fifty years of my sights and seems, felts and figured-outs, cools and shamefuls.'”
With a title like that, it’s unsurprising that Jennette McCurdy’s first book skyrocketed to the top of the charts. The book chronicles McCurdy’s years as a beloved child star with her abusive mother, and it is far from a fluffy read. “This bestselling memoir is hardly lighthearted fare, revolving as it does around child star McCurdy’s years of physical and emotional abuse at the hands of her fame-obsessed mother,” warns a Vogue reviewer. “But the rush to purchase it was no empty fanfare; it really is that good.”
Adds Esquire, “this gutsy memoir by a former Nickelodeon actress burned up the bestseller list in 2022.” If you’re ready to commit the time and bandwidth to dive into this book, reviewers say it’s well worth the journey. “This isn’t a memoir filled with celebrity gossip but rather an exposé of the parental and industry abuse Jennette kept hidden from the world until now,” Business Insider says.
Newly inducted into the ever-exclusive EGOT (Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, Tony) club, acting legend Viola Davis opens up like never before in Finding Me. “One of our most soulful performers delivers an intimate story of grit and grace, tracing her life all the way from her poverty-stricken upbringing to her Oscar and Tony-winning success,” says Esquire.
“A Rhode Island childhood marked by trauma and abuse gives way to an adulthood in the spotlight as one of the most recognizable actresses in Hollywood, and Davis relays the topsy-turviness of her life’s circumstances with a compelling mix of emotional honesty and grace,” Vogue notes. “It outlines her path to self-love in a world determined to change her and the power of discovering who we are without the labels society places upon us,” adds Business Insider.
“In Finding Me, [Davis] explores the duality between overcoming her struggles and carrying that broken little girl inside her, now and always,” Esquire says. “It’s a work of startling strength, resilience, and wisdom, chronicling how one of the best actors of our time became who she is. As Davis writes, ‘I knew my life would be a fight, and I realized this: I had it in me.'”
5. The Office BFFs: Tales of The Office from Two Best Friends Who Were There by Jenna Fischer and Angela Kinsey
If you’re looking for a lighter read, The Office BFFS is the book for you. Taking you behind the scenes of one of the world’s most beloved sitcoms, Jenna Fischer and Angela Kinsey are every bit as heartwarming and hilarious as ever. “The Office stars Jenna Fischer and Angela Kinsey may have been rivals on the show, but in real life, their sweet and silly bestie-dom is contagious, making this recollection of working on one of history’s most popular sitcoms a genuine pleasure to read,” comments a Vogue reviewer.
“In this nonfiction read, real-life best friends Jenna Fischer and Angela Kinsey (Pam and Angela, respectively) recount intimate and exclusive behind-the-scenes memories of the show, its iconic cast, and their lasting friendship,” Business Insider says, “Handsomely designed, it feels like a lavish, uber-cheerful yearbook. In fact, it’s based on the podcast, “Office Ladies” that Fishcer and Kinsey co-host. But as an add-on, it’s a gem, a must for anyone that cares about The Office,” adds Esquire.
You might also be interested in:
- Business Insider
- Beyond the Bookends
Note: This article was not paid for nor sponsored. StudyFinds is not connected to nor partnered with any of the brands mentioned and receives no compensation for its recommendations. This article may contain affiliate links.