Mitchell S. Jackson (The Residue Years) is a stunning writer, and his personal memoir, Survival Math: Notes on an All-American Family, ties his experience of growing up in Portland, Oregon, to the stories of his family members and to the larger black experience throughout American history. None of the challenges his family faced are isolated events; they are all part of a bigger picture, wrapped up in history, tradition and laws trenched in racism. For example, he begins a section on his mom’s drug problems by taking us through the entire history of cocaine. Jackson does a beautiful job connecting all the puzzle pieces, and his rhythmic, poetic narration enhances the written word and demonstrates his mastery of language. Yes, it’s a personal memoir, but it tells a much larger story.
Aimee Sinclair is a London-based actress who is wrapping up a film shoot when her husband goes missing. The police find it suspicious when she continues to live her life as if nothing has happened, and she quickly becomes the primary suspect. But Aimee has a complicated past: She was kidnapped as a child. I Know Who You Are splits the narrative between her experience with her kidnappers and the current day, when her life is once again unraveling around her. Aimee has killed before, but she doesn’t understand how she could possibly be responsible this time. Maybe she’s going crazy. Alice Feeney’s latest thriller is a compelling listen that had me on the edge of my seat to the very end. Narrator Stephanie Racine deftly portrays characters from a variety of regions and classes across the U.K. and Ireland. She shines in this first-person narration, capturing Aimee’s self-doubt, worry and determination.
In Too Much Is Not Enough: A Memoir of Fumbling Toward Adulthood, theater and TV star Andrew Rannells recounts his life and career from his first audition as a young boy to his first role on Broadway in his late 20s. From dinner theater in Nebraska to summer stock theater and finally Broadway, he tracks his career through a series of humorous and touching vignettes. A misguided tip to drop off his headshot at every stage door on Broadway surprisingly leads to his first Broadway audition. He shares lessons learned from failed romances, and you won’t believe which rock star he met in full Star Trek regalia during “kink night” at the bar. As a narrator, Rannells lets his peppy personality shine as he dishes about bad acting experiences and stooping to playing a stereotype in the musical adaptation of a children’s cartoon. This audiobook is a must-listen for fans of musical theater.