Sunday, June 08, 2014


The Liar's Club, Mary Karr, Viking, 1995, 320 pp

I finished reading this six weeks ago, before I got sick, so my memory of reading it is foggy. I read it for a reading group and we had a lively discussion. In fact, we didn't want to stop talking about it.

In 1995, when The Liar's Club was published to glowing reviews and achieved a lengthy run on the bestseller lists, I was trying to live with a positive attitude and make a success of being an independent singer/songwriter. According to my reading log, I was reading historical fiction, trashy bestsellers, some literary novels I stumbled upon, the Stephen Lawhead King Arthur trilogy, but not confessional memoirs about dysfunctional childhoods. The Liar's Club was one of those memoirs and helped define the genre but I've put it off for almost 20 years.

Of course, since then I have read The Glass Castle, With or Without You, and many more. In fact, The Liar's Club is almost mild in comparison but the writing is excellent. I blew through the book in two days. I was the most impressed by how she showed her life so vividly rather than telling us about it. Also since there was an aura of mystery surrounding Mary's mother, not fully revealed until near the end, this is a memoir with a plot. And the ending is mystically wonderful, as one would expect from a poet.

There are two sequels: Cherry (sexual coming of age) and Lit (getting drunk and getting sober). I will be reading them.

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