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In August, Jenna Bush Hager chose "The Comeback" by Ella Berman as one of two Read With Jenna book club picks.
The story revolves around a young actor named Grace Turner. At the start, Grace is living in her parents' home in Anaheim, California, after escaping from Los Angeles. When she fled the City of Angels without a word and seemingly overnight, she left behind fame, addiction, her loving but very young husband and the abuse she suffered for eight years at the hands of a manipulative director who had made her into a star.
When it dawns on Grace that she can’t hide from her problems, she returns to Los Angeles to face her life. Armed with a secret and nothing to lose, she must decide if and how she will fight back.
For readers that enjoyed "The Comeback," Berman has five books she recommends diving into next. Her list includes a touching memoir from a sexual abuse survivor and another book about the journeys of two women navigating friendship and everything in between. There is sure to be a book on this list for every type of reader.
A book about love, family and forgiveness, Gray's captivating debut novel tells the story of the Butler family. When eldest sister and substitute matriarch, Althea, and her husband, Proctor, are arrested out of the blue, the family's spotless reputation is instantly tarnished. Her sisters, Viola and Lillian, have no idea what has happened and must now step in to care for their disgraced sister's teenage daughters.
As the sisters pick up the pieces, a beautiful story about what it really means to be family unfolds.
Chanel Miller's memoir tells her life story as a survivor of sexual assault. It is a revealing portrayal of the criminal justice system, the cultural biases that exist in favor of perpetrators and the courage required of victims to stand up for themselves.
"It’s so important to hear the voices of survivors on the issues that have shaped them," said Berman. "'Know My Name' by Chanel Miller is a brave, honest and thought-provoking account from someone who has experienced both the trauma of sexual violence and the retraumatizing impact of the current, often dismissive, legal system. It’s a beautiful, searing and hopeful book."
"Eve Babitz was the queen of Los Angeles in the '60s and '70s, and she writes about the city like nobody else," said Berman. "The power of her writing can sneak up on you — it’s shimmering and playful but so evocative."
Through 10 stories, Babitz tells the tale of movie stars, socialites, the suburbs of Orange County and escapes to the desert in Palm Springs. The book is a seductive love story of the place the author calls home.
Alice Lovett is a reclusive ghostwriter who's made a living helping others tell their stories. Yet, the one story she can't tell is her own.
In 1999, after a high school party in a wealthy Maryland neighborhood, a passed-out Lovett was driven home by two boys on the championship-winning lacrosse team. After that night, rumors swirled about what occurred in the backseat of the car, but the boys denied any allegations and Alice was unable to remember anything. When the town's residents moved on, one of the boys, Nick, devolves into alcoholism and Alice is left to reckon with events she has no memory of.
When Alice is finally granted the opportunity to learn the truth, will she take it?
This timely exploration of trauma and sexual assault will leave readers guessing until the end.
"'True Story' is unlike any book I’ve read before," said Berman, "It defies all expectations, exploring memory, trauma and whether you can ever truly own a narrative, even if it happened to you. It’s a thrilling, disorienting and powerful read."
Aminatou Sow and Ann Friedman are best friends and hosts of the podcast "Call Your Girlfriend." In their new book, they share the ups and downs of their decade-long friendship. They share what they've learned about showing up for one another, investing in friendships and how to create bonds with others that will withstand time and distance.
"Big Friendship is an eye-opening and inspiring read, particularly if you choose to navigate your adult friendships with the same amount of care, commitment and compassion that is traditionally reserved for familial and romantic relationships," said Berman.
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For more book recommendations, check out:
- 5 books to read if you loved 'Here For It' by R. Eric Thomas
- 7 of the best beach reads of the summer
- The 20 best back-to-school books for kids to calm first day jitters