The Liars' Club

The Liars' Club

A Memoir

Book - 1995
Average Rating:
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"Astonishing...one of the most dazzling and moving memoirs to come along in years." -Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times"Mary Karr's God-awful childhood has a calamitous appeal...the choice in the book is between howling misery and howling laughter, and the reader veers toward laughter. Karr has survived to write a drop-dead reply to the question, 'Ma, what was it like when you were a little girl?'" -Time"This book is so good I thought about sending it out for a back-up opinion...it's like finding Beethoven in Hoboken. To have a poet's precision of language and a poet's instinct into people applied to one of the roughest, ugliest places in America is an astonishing event." -Molly Ivins, The Nation"Elegiac and searching...her toughness of spirit, her poetry, her language, her very voice are the agents of rebirth on this difficult, hard-earned journey." -New York Times Book Review"Bold, blunt, and cinematic...nothing short of superb." -Entertainment Weekly"Overflows with sparkling wit and humor...Truth beats powerfully at the heart of this dazzling memoir." -San Francisco Chronicle"Karr lovingly retells her parents' best lies and drunken extravagances with an ear for bar-stool phraseology and a winking eye for image. The revelations continue to the final page, with a misleading carelessness as seductive as any world-class liar's." -The New Yorker
Publisher: New York : Viking, 1995.
ISBN: 9780140179835
9780670850532
0670850535
Branch Call Number: 818.5403/KARR
Characteristics: 320 p. ; 24 cm.

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DBRL_KrisA Dec 19, 2016

Mary Karr's childhood reminds me of my own. Which is surprising in a way; she grew up in a small oil town on the coast in Texas, while I grew up in (mostly) a small farming town in Missouri. Her daddy was a union laborer for an oil company, while mine worked in middle management in a factory. She had one sister; I'm right smack in the middle of seven kids. But it's the small town, lower middle class upbringing that brings to mind my own childhood. Playing (and fighting) with the neighborhood kids; exploring the nearby creek or woods or pasture; fighting with your siblings (but also fighting along with your siblings against the other neighborhood kids).
There are definitely some differences - my mom didn't get an inheritance, move us to Colorado, and divorce our dad in order to marry some drunk bartender. We didn't ride horses or get stung by a man-o-war or hide from a drunk, knife-wielding parent (or protect a step-father from a drunk, pistol-wielding parent). We didn't (as far as my parents know) use the kind of "colorful" language Mary and (especially) her sister Lecia used against the other neighborhood kids. But, reading this memoir, I still felt at times like I was reliving my own childhood.

m
melmccurdy
Jul 05, 2016

A memoir of abuse, neglect, child endangerment, sexual abuse, alcoholism, mental illness - but somehow the author (and her sister) survived.

Adroitly written, but not for the faint of heart. This was a tough one to get through.

*Adult content

WVMLStaffPicks Dec 09, 2014

A Southern childhood with all its grittiness exposed: even though Karr's mother is an alcoholic, and her father knows how to punch his way through life, she and her sister survive because of undaunted love and courage that glue this crazy family together. Her writing is funny and every page tells of a miricle of survival.

gracindaisy Jul 02, 2012

How did I miss this back in 1995? A wickedly funny account of an apocalyptic childhood in East Texas.

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