Thursday, March 24, 2011


The title of Mary Karr's third memoir misled me. I thought "Lit" as in Literature -- but I was so wrong.

Karr uses Lit as in "lit" up on alcohol.

I haven't read Karr's first two memoirs, but there are so many books out there -- so many memoirs-- that to read three by the same author seems limiting. Now that I have completed Lit though, I may change my mind.

Karr is hilarious. As I told a friend today, if Karr wasn't such a potty mouth, I would recommend this book to everyone I know.

Her self-deprecating humor, her observations about herself and others, and her ability to describe effectively almost any situation, light or heavy, is a true gift.

The real treat, however, is her wit [rhymes with lit -- I know, lame] -- but there were times when I found myself laughing out loud.



At a memoir about alcohol addiction?

Yes, I did -- because Karr tells stories about herself with an irreverent, yet incisive humor, and that keeps this work from being just another tell all story about addiction.

Karr does hit rock bottom. She does put herself and her son in danger. She does mess up her marriage. Alienate her family, her in-laws. Make horrible decisions -- but she is so honest, so forthright in these situations, that when she turns a very "dark" moment into something lighter, I laugh.

She has already made me cry, worry, go "oh no," and "no you didn't," so that when she makes her wisecracks, I laugh with her because she can laugh now too.

Karr's journey is a rewarding one -- she survives, her kid lives, she's a successful writer, and believe or not, through her ordeal becomes a woman of faith: "If you'd told me even a year before I start taking my son to church regular that I'd wind up whispering my sins in the confessional or on my knees saying the rosary, I would have laughed myself cockeyed. More likely pastime? Pole dancer. International spy. Drug mule. Assassin."



1 comment:

  1. The fact that she has made it through made me think of Anne Lamott. This one is on my list but will probably read all 3 in order.