The Liars' Club: A Memoir

by Mary Karr | Biographies & Memoirs |
ISBN: 0140179836 Global Overview for this book
Registered by wingCordelia-annewing of Decatur, Georgia USA on 1/30/2013
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1 journaler for this copy...
Journal Entry 1 by wingCordelia-annewing from Decatur, Georgia USA on Wednesday, January 30, 2013
Somehow this year I collected the complete Mary Karr memoir trilogy. I understand that this is the place to begin. I'm looking forward to beginning sometime soon

Journal Entry 2 by wingCordelia-annewing at Decatur, Georgia USA on Tuesday, April 30, 2024
Sometime soon eluded me. After intending to read Mary Karr for 11 years, I'm making progress. A few months ago I read LIT, Mary Karr's third memoir from 2009. Then I read her poetry collection SINNERS WELCOME. I am finding LIAR'S CLUB especially vivid and gripping, the most engaging of my Karr reads. She was a published poet by the time she began to write LIAR'S CLUB. Now rounding the corner toward the conclusion, I must warn that this narrative is not for the faint hearted. By Chapter 13, Mary Karr , 8, has been sexually assaulted twice. Both of these horrors are described very graphically. Published in 1995, LIAR'S CLUB was a bestseller. It is reminding me a bit of Frank McCourt's ANGELA'S ASHES, another memoir of a child growing up in an atmosphere of alcoholism. Published a year after LIAR'S CLUB in 1996, ANGELA'S ASHES was also a smash hit. McCourt's biggest problem was abject poverty in Ireland. Karr's was the carelessness of her parents and the ugliness of many of the people of her working class communities in Texas and Colorado. Her family failed to protect her and with an adulterous relationship, her mother put young Mary and her sister in harm's way. The girls flee the violent situation with their "new Daddy" assisted by a kind community of strangers; happily, LIAR'S CLUB was made possible by another supportive group, writers Karr found in her adult career as a poet and academic. Her good friend and colleague Tobias Wolff, who served as a sort of godfather to LIAR'S CLUB, published a memoir of his troubled childhood, THIS BOY'S LIFE, in 1989. Earlier, his older brother Geoffrey Wolff came out with THE DUKE OF DECEPTION, the story of their father, in 1979. The two men had differing perspectives as they were divided after their parents divorced. Tobias Wolff was raised by the boys' mother in the American West while Geoffrey Wolff was raised by their father on the East Coast. I vaguely remember reading these when they were just published and feeling shock. Now memoirs of the family dysfunction school appear regularly. Of course it is hardly a new subject. I think of poor 16th Century Hamlet, victim of his mother's treachery and his father's murder, and Eugene O'Neill's 20th Century play, LONG DAYS JOURNEY INTO NIGHT. With its frankness about violence and hurt, yet filled with love, LIAR'S CLUB is exceptional. Karr transports the reader directly to her early childhood surroundings, the "ringworm belt" of east Texas and the gentler climate of Colorado. She is able to leaven horror with humor.

Journal Entry 3 by wingCordelia-annewing at Decatur, Georgia USA on Thursday, May 2, 2024
Chapters 14 and 15 were a very satisfying ending to this rich narrative. Mary returns to Texas, where her parents reunited after she and her sister fled Colorado. Seventeen years have passed. Mary is 25. The ending is like the conclusion of a mystery story. We leave the memoir understanding what might have led Mary's parents to alcoholism. It's a reconciliation. The love for her father, the deft storyteller of The Liar's Club and for her mother, the artist, shines especially bright in the final chapter.

Journal Entry 4 by wingCordelia-annewing at Walnut Creek, California USA on Thursday, May 2, 2024

Released 1 mo ago (5/2/2024 UTC) at Walnut Creek, California USA


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