Ellen's Reviews > Cherry

Cherry by Mary Karr
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Jan 31, 12

Read in January, 2012

I don't know if I would have liked it as much if I hadn't read The Liar's Club right before, but I couldn't put this down. One of the best books I've ever read that deals with female adolescence and sexual awakening. It lost a little steam during the last fourth or so: The drug scenes and occasional forays into the political climate of the time weren't as interesting to me as her ruminations on social angst, female friendship, boys, sex, teenage depression and such. The early chapters have this pulsating, almost incendiary quality to them, with this young girl and her body at the center, "a wet seed wild in the hot blind earth." Whole chapters are spent describing the smallest carnal experiences, like the leg massage she gives to her crush after he comes home from football practice, or a kissing game in the garage, all of which inch her toward The Deed. Her explanation of how "trying to open the door to libidinal adventure closes it" took my breath away. Drugs soon take over, seemingly as a surrogate adventure compensating for some halfway-acknowledged disappointments, washing all of that heat out. We get distended scenes of distorted perception, recalled through the fog of various pills and hallucinogens, a wacky cast of characters, some rebellion and big signs flashing Danger! Danger!, but a game for making love in the shower called Tropical Rain warrants nothing more than a half-sentence mention. The "cyclone of desire" totally dissipates into a slight rain in a persistent fog. Kind of sad really. But a damn good book. Now, onto Lit...
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