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The Liars' Club by Mary Karr
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The Liars' Club

by Mary Karr

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2,534542,385 (3.77)96
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Showing 1-5 of 50 (next | show all)
Good book. However, the narrator was somewhat detached when discussing her life. Very sad story. It did not feel like the 1960's. ( )
  shazjhb | Aug 3, 2014 |
I read Lit first just because I happened to find it first, and I'm glad I did. Lit was fantastic and made me want to read more and more and more. I do think The Liars' Club was good, but I don't think it would have left me compelled to seek out her other books if I had started with it. ( )
  earthforms | Feb 2, 2014 |
So fun to read since I now live in Texas. My own childhood was much more sheltered and happy, but there were some things that reminded me of my own dysfunctional family. We did wonder how she could recall so much dialogue verbatim, but accepted that it's literary license. Karr even tells the reader when her thinking is getting fuzzy and speculates about what may or may not have happened. ( )
  sushitori | Aug 1, 2013 |
I've just reread THE LIAR'S CLUB as part of a creative nonfiction class--it stands up well to a second look. Karr is a deft, gritty narrator who milks drama from even the smallest moments and portrays true drama without sensationalizing it. For memoir writers looking for models, Karr is an excellent teacher. She doesn't shy from depicting the dark, even horrific, qualities of her parents and still manages to make us love them as much as she does. She explores the fickle nature of memory without letting her exploration detract from the story itself. Her structural choices--a beginning that flashes forward to the middle and then three chronological chunks in time--show writers how well-selected memories can function well together without any need for the author to account for missing years. Most of all, she shows us how a powerful personality can infuse every word and thus delight the reader.

Here's a sample:

Because it took so long for me to paste together what happened, I will leave that part of the story missing for a while. It went long unformed for me, and I want to keep it that way here. I don't mean to be coy. When the truth would be unbearable the mind often just blanks it out. But some ghost of an event may stay in your head. Then, like the smudge of a bad word quickly wiped off a school blackboard, this ghost can call undue attention to itself by its very vagueness. You keep studying the dim shape of it, as if the original form will magically emerge. This blank spot in my past, then, spoke most loudly to me by being blank. It was a hole in my life that I both feared and kept coming back to because I couldn't quite fill it in.

Oh--one last thing I admire about this book. Karr tells such a good story I often found myself wondering whether she was pushing memoir's boundaries by making up details. But her title, her great admiration for her father's capacity to lie, and the layers of behavioral lying she explores with her family make lying a unifying theme of the book. And so I'm willing to forgive her for stretching the truth. In fact, I suspect by stretching the truth she's written a truer story. ( )
1 vote ElizabethAndrew | May 13, 2013 |
Well, y'all . . . it'll make your dysfunctional family seem a tiny bit more normal.
Well written memoir.
Wouldn't seek it out to read a second time, but happily finished it.
Read in 2010.hhhhhhhhhh ( )
  CasaBooks | Apr 28, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 50 (next | show all)
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My sharpest memory is of a single instant surrounded by dark.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0143035746, Paperback)

In this funny, razor-edged memoir, Mary Karr, a prize-winning poet and critic, looks back at her upbringing in a swampy East Texas refinery town with a volatile, defiantly loving family. She recalls her painter mother, seven times married, whose outlaw spirit could tip into psychosis; a fist-swinging father who spun tales with his cronies--dubbed the Liars' Club; and a neighborhood rape when she was eight. An inheritance was squandered, endless bottles emptied, and guns leveled at the deserving and undeserving. With a raw authenticity stripped of self-pity and a poet's eye for the lyrical detail, Karr shows us a "terrific family of liars and drunks ... redeemed by a slow unearthing of truth."

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:28:49 -0400)

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The author, a poet, recounts her difficult childhood growing up in a Texas oil town.

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