Several people emailed me with more questions about memoir. Beth Kephart writes memoirs, as well as a plethora of other books, and teaches creative-non-fiction at the University of Pennsylvania. She suggests the following memoirs as ones to read.
The Suicide Index by Joan Wickersham (2008)
When Women Were Birds by Terry Tempest Williams (2010)
The Liars' Club by Mary Karr (1995)
Just Kids by Patti Smith (2010)
The Duke of Deception by Geoffrey Wolff (1979)
Let's Take the Long Way Home by Gail Caldwell (2010)
I like practically anything that Terry Tempest Willimans writes. I'd also add Refuge
In one of her essays on memoir she writes, "I believe our very finest memoirists are philosophers, risk takers, sentence forgers, structural innovators, language shapers."
She also has a number of things to say about how too many books masquerade as memoirs.
Check out her blog. Beth Kephart Books