Unforgettable nonfiction

Narrative nonfiction stands or falls on the strength of the author's storytelling, but these got off to a head start with an unforgettable hook.

Search the catalog for As Nature Made HimAs Nature Made Him:
After Bruce is horribly injured during circumcision, his doctor convinces his parents that they can perform gender reassignment surgery and raise him as a girl, and that--with the help of estrogen treatment--he will fall into this new role with ease as long as they never let on that he and his brother were identical twins.  But from a very early age "Brenda" is angry and sullen, tearing off his dresses and ignoring dolls except when forced not to, when they're treated with frustrated aggression.  Rejected by his fellow students, viewed with alarm by his teachers, and consistently gaslighted by his family, Brenda knows somehow that he is a boy no matter how many times his family (and that endlessly nosy doctor they send him to) tell him otherwise.

Search the catalog for The Boy Who Harnessed the WindThe Boy Who Harnessed the Wind:
When Malawi is hit by a drought, William's parents run out of crops to sell, then money for his school fees, and then food itself.  With people dying all around him, William becomes convinced that he must figure out how to build a windmill to allow his family to pump water from their well year-round and get in a second season's worth of crops.  William might not have blueprints for a windmill--or parts, or money, or community support--but he does have curiosity, intelligence, a local junkyard, and a steely determination that his family should never again have to risk dying of starvation.

Search the catalog for My Grandfather Would Have Shot MeMy Grandfather Would Have Shot Me:
Jennifer has no idea that a trip to the public library will upend her life, but one day she picks up a book on display and finds, inside of it, a photo of her grandmother with a caption identifying her as Amon Goethe's mistress.  Jennifer is German/Nigerian, her birth decades in the future when her grandfather commits his atrocities, and she knows that even if she had been born at the time, he would have killed her as well.  Still she is overwhelmed with guilt and spirals into a deep depression, withdrawing from everyone she knows.  How can she face her family and friends--her Jewish friends--knowing what she now knows?  Her sense of shame and responsibility are as illogical as they are relentless, and eventually Jennifer realizes that she must find some way to make sense of her past, or risk destroying all her relationships.

Posted by JohnJ on December 2, 2019