purrbot, January 2, 2012 (view all comments by purrbot)
Both hilarious and heart breaking. It's specifics don't alienate, but invite you in. I knew her struggle, I knew her success. Not because I was an alcoholic that found God. We've all hit rock bottom, been unhappy, found a way, built a life from rubble. I laughed, I cried. Seriously.
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Janice Leslie, September 20, 2011 (view all comments by Janice Leslie)
I love memoirs, but this one is much better than others I have read--I literally had a hard time putting it down! Mary Karr weaves a tale from her inner life, family life (mom/dad, marriage, child), professional obligations, friendships, and her personal growth. The chapters are short and begin with delightful quotes from literature and poetry. I found it fascinating to see the author's progression between very disparate worlds. I highly recommend "Lit" both for its' courage AND its' byproduct for me--encouragement!
The best way I can describe this work is to say that it's absolutely delicious. More than a mere memoir, this fascinating jewel contains universal truths, with delicate and elegant phrasing, and, despite the subject matter, there's no sense of frivolous belly-button gazing. Some of the vignettes seem as if they came from a wildly good contemporary novel, while others resonate with a reader's remembrances of his or her own triumphs and disgraces. Karr's latest is not only her best work, but one of the best journeys in the genre.
by Library Journal,
"That Karr survived...to become the evenhanded, self-disciplined writer she is today is arguably nothing short of a miracle, and readers of her previous two books won't be disappointed."
by New York Times,
"In a gravelly, ground-glass-under-your-heel voice that can take you from laughter to awe in a few sentences, Karr has written the best book about being a woman in America I have read in years."
by Dallas Morning News,
"With her ability to tell a good story and her flair for written expression, Karr has found another way to...make peace with herself, her back story and those around her."
"Karr narrates this new book with the same confessional, raw, urgent, vividly funny and blazing style.... In short, in Lit Karr continues to deliver the goods."
by Bob Minzesheimer, USA Today,
"A redemptive, painfully funny story."
by Michelle Green, People,
"Karr movingly depicts her halting journey into AA, making it clear her grit and spirit remain intact."
"Lit matches its predecessors in candor and outstrips them in insight."
by Valery Sayers, Washington Post,
"Karr's sharp and funny sensibility won me over to her previous two volumes, but what wins me over to Lit is the way her acute self-awareness conquers any hint that hers is the only version of this story....Karr is as funny as ever."
"A brutally honest, sparkling story."
by Carmela Ciuraru, Christian Science Monitor,
"There isn't a single false note in Lit."
by Samantha Dunn, Los Angeles Times,
"Karr could tell you what's on her grocery list, and its humor would make you bust a gut, its unexpected insights would make you think and her pitch-perfect command of our American vernacular might even take your breath away....[Karr] holds the position of grande dame memoirista."
by Publishers Weekly,
"[Karr's] poetic sensibility infuses every sentence of her story with an alliterative and symbolic energy, conjuring echoes of poet Gerard Manley Hopkins, and occasionally, Sylvia Plath."
by Vanity Fair,
"Mary Karr restores memoir form's dignity with Lit."
by Pam Houston, O Magazine,
"Irresistible. . . . [Written] with trademark wit, precision, and unfailing courage."
by Body + Soul,
"Mary Karr sparked a memoir revival with The Liars' Club — now she's back with Lit to describe how she turned those early troubles into literary gold."
by Michiko Kakutani, New York Times,
"Searing. . . . A book that lassos you, hogties your emotions and won't let you go. . . . Chronicles with searching intelligence, humor and grace the author's slow, sometimes exhilarating, sometimes painful discovery of her vocation and her voice as a poet and writer."
by Redbook Magazine,
by Kirkus Reviews (starred review),
"An absolute gem that secures Karr's place as one of the best memoirists of her generation. . . . [She] writes with a singular combination of poetic grace and Texan verve."
by Steve Ross, Huffington Post,
"With this third book Karr has managed to raise the bar higher still on the genre of memoir."
by Beth Greenfield, Time Out New York,
"[Karr] continues to delight with her signature dark humor and pitch-perfect metaphors delivering large doses of wit and painful insights. . . .There are plenty of memoirs about being drunk, but this one has Karr's voice — both sure-footed and breezy — behind it."
by Melanie Gideon, San Francisco Chronicle,
"As irresistible as it is unflinchingly honest. . . .With grace, saltiness and profanity galore, Karr undeniably re-establishes herself as one of our finest memoirists and storytellers."
by Rebecca Steinitz, Boston Globe,
"Dazzling. . . . Lit reminds us not only how compelling personal stories can be, but how, in the hands of a master, they can transmute into the highest art."
by Ken Tucker, Entertainment Weekly,
"[A] radiant, rueful, rip-roaring book. . . .Warm enough to burn a hole in your heart."
Lit is about getting drunk and getting sober; becoming a mother by letting go of a mother; learning to write by learning to live. Written with Karr's relentless honesty, unflinching self-scrutiny, and irreverent, lacerating humor, it is a truly electrifying story of how to grow up — as only Mary Karr can tell it.
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