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The Liars' Club brought to vivid, indelible life Mary Karr's hardscrabble Texas childhood. Cherry, her account of her adolescence, "continued to set the literary standard for making the personal universal" (Entertainment Weekly). Now Lit follows the self-professed blackbelt sinner's descent into the inferno of alcoholism and madness—and to her astonishing resurrection.

Karr's longing for a solid family seems secure when her marriage to a handsome, Shakespeare-quoting blueblood poet produces a son they adore. But she can't outrun her apocalyptic past. She drinks herself into the same numbness that nearly devoured her charismatic but troubled mother, reaching the brink of suicide. A hair-raising stint in "The Mental Marriott," with an oddball tribe of gurus and saviors, awakens her to the possibility of joy and leads her to an unlikely faith. Not since Saint Augustine cried, "Give me chastity, Lord—but not yet!" has a conversion story rung with such dark hilarity.

Lit is about getting drunk and getting sober; becoming a mother by letting go of a mother; learning to write by learning to live. Written with Karr's relentless honesty, unflinching self-scrutiny, and irreverent, lacerating humor, it is a truly electrifying story of how to grow up—as only Mary Karr can tell it.

Topics: Abuse, Mental Illness, Parenting, Marriage, Alcoholism, Addiction, Mothers, Writing, Texas, Spirituality , Witty, Poetry, Black Humor, and Touching

Published: HarperCollins on
ISBN: 9780061959684
List price: $6.99
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This is the third of poet Mary Karr's memoirs, covering her college days through her success as a writer. Though in the first half of the book she seems whiny, that's the point. The book details her journey from bottomed-out alcoholic mom to AA supplicant trying to find her "higher power". She shops for a church to belong to, finally settling on Catholicism. Her trials include an irresponsible "taker" of a mother (also a recovering alcoholic), and a set of in-laws who, although they're among the most affluent families in America, are hard-wired for only coldness and frugality when it comes to aiding their proud, struggling poet son and his family. I don't want to suggest that this book is depressing. Far from it. Karr's native sense of humor never fails her even in her darkest moments. The final chapters are beautiful and inspiring, tempting even one such as myself, who has given up on faith in a higher power, to give it another go.more
The third volume in Karr's series of memoirs covers her adulthood, her addictions, her marriage and motherhood and her eventual conversion to Christianity. Her sardonic powers of observation remain unscathed by any of this, thankfully. It's very raw and funny and well worth reading if you are a fan of her earlier works.more
Meh. About 1/2 way, and losing interest . . .

Really annoying that you can only "finish" a book. This one I abandoned.more
Brilliant and moving. Life-altering. Makes me want to write memoir, and I don't do memoir.more
Read all 33 reviews

Reviews

This is the third of poet Mary Karr's memoirs, covering her college days through her success as a writer. Though in the first half of the book she seems whiny, that's the point. The book details her journey from bottomed-out alcoholic mom to AA supplicant trying to find her "higher power". She shops for a church to belong to, finally settling on Catholicism. Her trials include an irresponsible "taker" of a mother (also a recovering alcoholic), and a set of in-laws who, although they're among the most affluent families in America, are hard-wired for only coldness and frugality when it comes to aiding their proud, struggling poet son and his family. I don't want to suggest that this book is depressing. Far from it. Karr's native sense of humor never fails her even in her darkest moments. The final chapters are beautiful and inspiring, tempting even one such as myself, who has given up on faith in a higher power, to give it another go.more
The third volume in Karr's series of memoirs covers her adulthood, her addictions, her marriage and motherhood and her eventual conversion to Christianity. Her sardonic powers of observation remain unscathed by any of this, thankfully. It's very raw and funny and well worth reading if you are a fan of her earlier works.more
Meh. About 1/2 way, and losing interest . . .

Really annoying that you can only "finish" a book. This one I abandoned.more
Brilliant and moving. Life-altering. Makes me want to write memoir, and I don't do memoir.more
Her first two memoirs are really my favorites, but this one is one of the best examples of her style. Even when she is discussing the worst parts of her adult life, Karr is poignant and clever. I like her immensely, and I can almost see myself in her son, Dev. There is an excellent circularity to this book; beginning with her letter to Dev as a mom and ending with her own mother. She went through a lot, and I applaud her ability to write it out and remain an entertaining writer.more
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