coming-of-age books: not your usual suspects

Bildungsroman. No, I didn’t sneeze. 

This coming-of-age literary genre pulls together two German words: bildung meaning education, and roman meaning novel. Together they describe a novel that follows a protagonists psychological and moral development during his/her formative years, from youth to adulthood.

Thank you, Wikipedia.

So much of who we are and how we want to be in this life is formed during these years, when we really begin to question spirituality, society, and our dreams. When we leave (or escape) the proverbial nest, set our own path, and, if I’m being honest, screw up some along the way.

We don’t always get it right, but in our new adult phase, we are ready to try this life thing our way. For better or worse. Of course we have Jane Eyre and I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, and authors like Jesmyn Ward, but I also wanted to add books to your list with lesser known titles in the coming-of-age world that are fantastic nonetheless. 

Here are 5, bildungsroman (coming-of-age) books for twenty something women exploring life on their own terms.

  1. Black Girl in Paris

  2. I’ll Take You There

  3. After You’d Gone

  4. My Soul Looks Back

  5. The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao (Yes, about a boy, and pretty well known, but the mother and sister stories are powerful and significant)


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