Amazing Memoirs Part 1: "Liars' Club," "Cherry" and "Lit"

By Anna Smith on January 24, 2013

Personally I love memoirs, especially memoirs that include psychological aspects. In this article series I will review memoirs that I have particularly enjoyed so that I can pass on and share my favorites with you.

Liars’ Club written by Mary Karr

A few years ago I heard about a memoir that greatly interested me called “Lit” and so I looked into it. “Lit,” written by Mary Karr, is the third memoir she has written about her life as a mother and an alcoholic. The fact that this woman has  written three memoirs peaked my interest further. I read her first memoir “Liars’ Club” and loved it. Her memoir has everything in it; it will make you laugh, cry and want to keep reading. Between her alcoholic father and her crazy but fun mother, Mary Karr has a lot of stories to tell. “Liars’ Club” tells the story of her childhood while “Cherry” chronicles her adolescence. While it is not essential to read all three of them, they make a great trilogy. “Cherry” is perhaps the weakest of her memoirs. It is still a good book and worth reading. It has drama and tells the story of her college years. It opens with a trip to California with a group of guys and her experimentation with drugs. It is not essential to read “Cherry” to understand “Lit” but it does provide a better background.

“Liars’ Club” and “Lit” are two very powerful memoirs, beautifully written. At times, they both leave the reader stunned that these events actually happened to someone. Coming from a strange family, Mary Karr survives molestation, the delusions of her mother, drugs, alcohol and so much more. Many times the reader is torn between laughter and tears at the events in her life. Her writing betrays the attitude that stood beside her through her life: the ability to find humor in the situation. “Liars’ Club” shows where she came from and explains the family dynamics and relationship interactions that continue through her life and exist throughout her memoirs. The stories about her mother alone provide lots of laughs and shivers of shock starting with waking up to Karr’s mother standing with a knife over Mary and her sister to nearly burning the house down. With “Liars’ Club” you never know what the next page will introduce and what new story she will have to tell. “Lit” is the story of her struggle with alcoholism and her life as a mother. She knows that her addiction to alcohol interfere with her role as a mother. “Lit” is a continuation of her unbelievable life told using her distinct voice that conveys the complexity of the experiences of being human. Both her first and third memoirs have vivid writing with witty reflections, a great sense of humor, and lightness of heart, even when discussing difficult events and memories. Mary Karr is a memoirist I would recommend to anyone who loves a good story and a strong sense of character.

I am a Leo and a pagan. I am a double major in Psychology and English at Mount Holyoke. College. I love reading and writing. I live in an old farmhouse in Vermont and love nature. I hope to one day become a therapist and I write and blog more as a hobby.

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