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The Liars' Club by Mary Karr

The Liars' Club (1995)

by Mary Karr

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Showing 1-5 of 58 (next | show all)
Rambling, disjointed, and generally uninteresting memoir. Strange family life of course with the obligatory crazy stories. Not impressed. ( )
  deldevries | Jan 31, 2016 |
Fabulous. ( )
  pagewright | Aug 24, 2015 |
Although I picked this book for Bookclub, I really did not care for it.... ( )
  Swissmama | Apr 8, 2015 |
This is actually well-written, and I generally like memoirs like this- at least I used to. But this book just didn't grab me at all. I was fighting it for about 60 pages, and decided to stop- life's too short.
Someone recommended I read "Lit", a memoir of her later life, so I thought I'd read this one first so as to be chronologically appropriate, but I guess I'll never get to "Lit".
I give it 2 stars because I don't think it's a bad book- I'd pick it up again if I had nothing else- but it wasn't gripping enough. ( )
  DanTarlin | Feb 9, 2015 |
Reading the reviews of this book I see most praise it for the way it is written, for its ability to evoke local colloquialisms, for its exceptional character development (even though it is largely non-fiction), and as “wickedly funny.” It is this last description I take issue with. I didn’t find it funny at all, in fact I found it thoroughly unpleasant.

I’m not usually one to wallow in the dysfunction of others, particularly when it has no resonance for my own life. While I do agree with the humorous observation that the definition of a dysfunctional family is any family with more than one member, I don’t find experiencing that dysfunction at all enjoyable. The only reason I read it is because it was next on my list of books to read. It didn’t really make me want to read the sequel, or to see the movie that is in production.

This work is an autobiographical-”ish” description of the childhood of the author, Mary Karr. As we move from one unpleasant event to another we are introduced to her alcoholic parents – a loving but sometimes inattentive father, an oversexed, mentally ill mother, a controlling, somewhat bossy sister – and other supporting characters. The whole work is beautifully written, really well organized in a sort of linear, non-linear way (best way I can describe it), and in fact, I agree with most of the praise it is getting…except that I did not find it funny, or enjoyable.

My skeptic-alarm went off in a few instances while I was reading this. First, the author is recounting events that occurred when she was a small child. While she does note places where her memory is not exact, she remembered an awful lot of detail for being an 8 year old kid…hyper resolved descriptions of scenes, and verbatim descriptions of conversations. I certainly don’t have that kind of recall. I’m not saying the author is deliberately making things up, but I can’t help but believe there is some exaggerating going on. Second, with the exception of a couple of vignettes she seems to go out of her way to gloss over anything pleasant or uplifting that might have happened to her. And those instances where she did you just knew it was a prelude to something horrific.

I can see why writing this book would be cathartic for Mary Karr, and I can see why it would be popular with those that might have had some of the same experiences, which I think probably accounts for its popularity. As a work of literature it deserves the praise it received. Since my life resembles nothing like what she experienced I mainly found it an unpleasant trip through the dysfunction of another family. ( )
  mybucketlistofbooks | Jan 10, 2015 |
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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 Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:09:10 -0400)

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

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