Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Mary Karr "The Liar's Club"

This is a memoir of Mary Karr's east Texas childhood. Her mother is an intellectual alcoholic drowning in existential despair and her father is a hard drinking blue collar storyteller who gets into brawls a bit too easily.

She tells her generally horrific story with a healthy dose of humor but I found myself not noticing it was supposed to be funny except as an afterthought. The anxiety she describes, as only a powerless child can feel it, rings true as you're reminded of your own moments of fear as a kid. But it was overwhelmingly depressing to think that her unreliable and unpredictable parents created a permanent state of turmoil and fear for her and her sister. I just couldn't find this book funny.

I have a hard time reading depressing stories in general, I read romance novels for goodness sake. So my opinion of the book is certainly colored by my Pollyanna'ish desires in reading material. In other words, her voice is engrossing and heartrending in it's honesty. You even gain some peace with the mother in the end which I didn't think was possible. But for me, I just couldn't enjoy it. I really only finished it because it's my book club book this month.

5 comments:

jean said...

ditto. karr's sense of humor is completely lost on me. i might have actually liked the book without it, but i guess her ability to see humor in things horrid makes her the published author she is today.

i couldn't help but notice the recognition that anne received. so if i comment on every book club book, what do i get? :)

Heloise (& Abelard) said...

Well....first you have to reveal your birthdate....then you have to send a $50 check to me....and supply me with a revealing picture of yourself...and then I might write you a birthday post.

You know, if I charge everyone $50 for a birthday post, this whole blogging thing might pay off sooner than I predicted.

Anne said...

Hey, you charged me $100! What's going on here?!!

Thanks for the heads up re: the eclipse the other night. I saw it as I drove across town. Very, very cool.

Stewart said...

Our local romance reading group is reading Deidre Martin;s "Just a Taste", so that is my next request for your wonderful blog.

Looking at this cover on Amazon, though, I fail to see the typical soft-focus semiclad vixen embraced by Fabio. Instead, it is a cartoon of two people eating! Is this really a romance novel? Are you familiar with her work? A cartoon on a romance novel cover strikes me as a creepy.

Heloise (& Abelard) said...

Well, I'm wary of fulfilling your every request since you led me so astray with your last book club request.

As to the cover, lame, but not unprecedented. It's trying to cash in on the chick lit success and to look less like a 'dumb romance.'

Apparently it's not working for you.