Joslyn's Reviews > The Liars' Club

The Liars' Club by Mary Karr
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Oct 04, 2011

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The drama and all out chaos which comes with life’s experiences can rival the fictional stories that many people love to read. This is why Mary Karr chose to write a memoir instead of adding fictional elements to her already complex childhood. The Liars’ Club has the crazy types of characters who inspire the wild characters in dramatic movies and novels. This memoir has many of the creativity and pandemonium needed to write a fiction novel except for the fact that Mary Karr is pulling the experiences from her memory.

The Liars’ Club actually starts off with an introduction where Mary Karr goes on to explain the reasons she decided to write this memoir. It is there, in the introduction, where you first get a feel for her writing style and get to see Mary Karr’s life through her own eyes. While reading the introduction, the readers get a quick view of what to expect in her memoir and in the 10th anniversary edition Mary mentions how her writing about overcoming a troubling childhood has changed many of the lives that have read The Liars’ Club.

When you begin reading the memoir, you are immediately put into the middle of a tense situation. At first, Mary writes as if there are missing spaces in her memory and she makes a comment of how discussing the past situation with family helped her fill in some of the holes. It is understandable that she had trouble remembering, after all, because she was seeing the world through the perspective of a seven year old at the time of that chaotic situation. You can clearly see her thoughts like how she reacted positively to her dad’s dog “disappearing into the bayou” because he would bite her and how Mary would rely on her older sister for guidance in scary situations. From the beginning, you get to see how Mary Karr was as a little girl and the type of life she lived.

As the story progresses, the reader is assaulted by the descriptions of Mary’s tragic memories. She goes into great detail explaining her grandmother dying of cancer from a child’s prospective, her mother’s drunken murderous behavior, her father’s amusing lies, being sexually assaulted on more than one occasion and lots of commotion. Mary Karr’s raw, witty, in-your-face depiction of her life experiences draws the reader into the story, and this memoir makes you feel all the emotions with the younger version of the narrator/author.

By the end of the story, you see the growth of the author and how much she has overcome. Although there isn’t really a resolution to all the problems Mary Karr went through, there is still some emotional healing and the discovery of past secrets add a bit of closure to the story. This memoir, no matter how inspiring it may be, is not for children. There are numerous adult situations and themes that make it inappropriate for kids. It is also not for anyone who is easily upset due to the blunt and abrasive way Mary Karr expresses herself. Over all, The Liars’ Club was a well written book which takes its readers on an emotional roller-coaster (cliché, I know but it is true).

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