Yup, we’ve got that one

And more than one million more. Become a member today and read free for two weeks.

Read free for two weeks

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 Nov 3, 2009
ISBN: 9780061959684
List price: $8.99
Read on Scribd mobile: iPhone, iPad and Android.
Availability for Lit
With a 30 day free trial you can read online for free
  1. This book can be read on up to 6 mobile devices.
Clear rating

I read Mary Karr's book a lot quicker than I expected, I think because reading it is so much like watching a train wreck, which is a problem not of style (excellent) but of content (gruesome). It was horrible, but somehow I couldn't look away so I just finished as quickly as possible.The story follows Karr thru her drugging, boozing and whining (possibly the worst of it) years until she finally, resentfully, started getting sober, found god (eventually joining the Catholic church) and became bearable to be around. I'm not into the god-stuff myself, but whatever it takes someone to stop whining is aces with me.read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
Honest, extraordinarily well written memoir -- just what you'd expect from the author of "The Liars' Club." This time, Karr tells the story of her journey into adulthood -- including marriage, motherhood, alcoholism, sobriety, divorce, religious faith and ultimately literary and commercial success. It's a harrowing tale but she makes it pretty funny at times. Even if you're not a big memoir reader -- I'm not -- this one is worth the time.read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
This was a wonderful memoir showing the origins and downward spiral of addiction and addictive personalities. I loved reading about Mary Karr's emotional and spiritual growth throughout the course of the book. I wish I had read Liar's Club first, but I am definitely ready to read it soon!read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
Read all reviews

Reviews

I read Mary Karr's book a lot quicker than I expected, I think because reading it is so much like watching a train wreck, which is a problem not of style (excellent) but of content (gruesome). It was horrible, but somehow I couldn't look away so I just finished as quickly as possible.The story follows Karr thru her drugging, boozing and whining (possibly the worst of it) years until she finally, resentfully, started getting sober, found god (eventually joining the Catholic church) and became bearable to be around. I'm not into the god-stuff myself, but whatever it takes someone to stop whining is aces with me.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
Honest, extraordinarily well written memoir -- just what you'd expect from the author of "The Liars' Club." This time, Karr tells the story of her journey into adulthood -- including marriage, motherhood, alcoholism, sobriety, divorce, religious faith and ultimately literary and commercial success. It's a harrowing tale but she makes it pretty funny at times. Even if you're not a big memoir reader -- I'm not -- this one is worth the time.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
This was a wonderful memoir showing the origins and downward spiral of addiction and addictive personalities. I loved reading about Mary Karr's emotional and spiritual growth throughout the course of the book. I wish I had read Liar's Club first, but I am definitely ready to read it soon!
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
Book OverviewLit is Mary Karr's third memoir. Her first, The Liar's Club, chronicled her toxic childhood in Texas and her volatile relationship with her artistic, raging, alcoholic mother and sad, distant, drunken father. Her second memoir, Cherry, covered her adolescence and sexual coming-of-age. In her third memoir, she writes about her adult life—college, career, marriage and motherhood—and her struggle to overcome her childhood wounds and alcoholism.The book opens with a letter to her son Dev and two short vignettes that set the framework for the story to come. In one of the vignettes, Karr describes herself as a young mother too drunk to see straight, shivering outside on the small porch while chain-smoking and drinking whiskey and promising to change the burnt-out light bulb on the porch tomorrow. Yet when tomorrow comes, the mother finds herself once again shivering in the night air, drinking, smoking and promising once again to change the light bulb. In this one short chapter, Karr sets the tone for the entire memoir.The narrative starts right before Karr's college years and progresses chronologically through her life—her struggle to be a poet and writer, her failed marriage to another poet who grew up in a wealthy but emotionally distant family, her struggles with motherhood, her years of therapy and attempts to come to terms with each of her parents, her desperate struggle with alcohol and then her long and painful process to become sober—which included a stop in a mental hospital. But strip away the rest of it, and this books is really about an alcoholic's struggle to become sober and finding God along the way. It is also about Karr's attempts to make peace with her mother, whose love she never felt sure of and whose personality shaped so much of what she ended up being as a mother and a woman.My ThoughtsThe Liar's Club was one of the first memoirs I ever read and pretty much set the bar for all memoirs I read afterward. The book is powerful and made me realize what memoirs could be. Although she provides a sort of coda at the end of The Liar's Club, you still end up wondering how she survived her childhood and want to know more about the family's fate. This book provides those answers and is a must read for anyone who read The Liar's Club.What makes Mary Karr's memoirs stand out from the pack is her writing. She has a true gift for language and a bluntness that serves her well. She is exceedingly honest in her self-assessment and spares herself nothing. Yet she manages to convey all the ugliness of her life in this beautiful prose that left me marveling. Here are just a few of the passages that I marked while reading.On her feelings about the power of poetry: Such a small, pure object a poem could be, made of nothing but air, a tiny string of letters, maybe small enough to fit in the palm of your hand. But it could blow everybody's head off.On describing how she slowly began to see the power of God in her life: This is what an unbeliever might call self-hypnosis; a believer might say it's the presence of God. Let's call it a draw and concede that the process of listing my good fortune stopped my scrambling fear, and in relinquishing that, some solid platform slid under me.On beginning to write again after a long absence: The writing has come back—with a polished quiet around it. Somehow I feel freer to fail. But the work mortifies me. Previously I'd seen the poems as adorable offspring, but they've become the most pathetic bunch of little bow-legged, snaggle-toothed pinheads imaginable. Even the book I published with such pride a few years before—eager to foist it on anybody who'd read it—now seems egregiously dull, sophomoric, phony. If the pages were big enough, I might as well use them to wrap fish.I think at its core, this book is about Mary Karr's struggle to become sober and accept God in her life. Throughout the book—as her drinking leads to more and more problems—she tries to run from the demons of her past. Yet when she is finally scared into trying to stop drinking, she fights the help of a Higher Power tooth and nail. As she begrudgingly begins to accept what her sober friends tell her—that accepting God (in whatever way you perceive God) is the only way to true sobriety and peace—she takes you step by step through her conversion process and it is incredibly revealing and powerful. More than any other book I've read, I think this book probably makes the best case for the power of prayer and why God's presence can make a difference in a life.My Final RecommendationIf you've read The Liar's Club, you really must read this book to get the rest of Mary Karr's story and how her relationship with her mother resolves itself. (The chapter at the end of the book where she moves her elderly mother out of her falling down house and into a condominium was an incredibly powerful piece of writing.)If you've struggled with drinking and been distrustful of the role that prayer and a Higher Power can play in getting sober, this book is a must read as it presents the unvarnished truth about Mary Karr's struggle to get sober and her initial distrust and eventual acceptance of the role of God in her life. Readers will appreciate her skepticism because it makes her eventual conversion all the more believable and powerful.If you enjoy reading memoirs, Mary Karr has both the life and the writing skills to make a top-notch memoir that is both literary and down-to-earth. This isn't the easiest book to read as the subject matter is often sad and disturbing; yet, at the same time, it is often filled with humor and a "humanness" that speaks to us all. Although it took me a while to read (as I often needed a break from it due to the often depressing story), I felt it was well worth my time, and it left me thinking about spirituality and the power of prayer.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
In the prologue to her memoir Cherry, Karr describes herself leaving her childhood home, an oil refinery town on the East Texas Gulf Coast and striking out for the dream of California surf. When it quickly proves to be an impoverished and frightening nightmare, she heads for college and desperately tries to fit in. Unsuccessful at this, she tries drinking and running off. Fortunately she finds poetry and a mentor, and throws herself, reluctantly at first, into the literary life. A decade later however, marriage to another poet from a wealthy family, publication, academic success, and motherhood fail to bring her the escape she’s seeking. So she finds herself living for the anesthetic comfort of the bottle, but the bottle let her down.“At the end of my drinking, the kingdom I longed for, slaved for, and a the end of each day lunged at was a rickety slab of unreal estate about four foot square—a back stair landing off my colonial outside Cambridge, Mass. I’d sit hunched against the door guzzling whisky and smoking Marlboros while wires from a tinny walkman piped blues into my head. Through hours there were frequently spent howling inwardly about the melting ice floe of my marriage, this spate of hours was the highlight of my day.” Page 7Recovering alcoholics often say that there are only three possible outcomes of their addiction: You either end up locked-up, covered-up, or sober-up. Fortunately for American letters and herself, Karr sobered up.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
This was my first ebook and I liked the experience more than I though I would. I've read Karr's previous memoirs but didn't remember the details. As with the previous works, she writes from quite a distance from when these events took place. Ultimately, this is about Mary facing her life and her decisions, namely her drinking, her reasons and biology for drinking and her marriage. It's also about her ability to keep the artistic part of herself throught all the turmoil in her life. Religion figures heavily into her success with sobriety and life. My favorite parts were her descriptions of her relationship with her mother and my least favorite were the religious pieces.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
Load more
scribd