Julie Davis's Reviews > Lit

Lit by Mary Karr
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Nov 23, 2011

it was ok

Note - I read this for a book club. Not my choice. I do like memoirs, just not this sort.

Mary Karr/Lit fans are a fiercely loyal group. And super intolerant of anyone who doesn't love her sort of memoir. I get it. Oy veh. Can we all just move on? Not going to reiterate any more the above two points in my comments section.

Original comments/review below.

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Reading this for my book club.

O.M.G.

If there is a genre I hate, it is that of addicts telling their life stories ... yes, even when they come out Christian at the other end. Just like a bad movie made for Christian purposes, an angsty book told for Christian purposes does nothing for me. First give me good art (story) I say, then worry about what else is in it.

It isn't that I don't have sympathy for the people themselves, it is that their books inevitably seem to be all about them (me, me, me ... angst and self loathing ... then repeat).

I know, this makes me sound harsh. But there you have it.

The only thing worse than that?

Tell it in stream-of-consciousness (which around our house, we call "lazy writer's syndrome").

Ladies and gentlemen, allow me to introduce you to Lit.

So yes I have a very bad attitude going in and after reading the first four pages I was consciously reminding myself that some book club members read 400 pages of Assam & Darjeeling who never have read fantasy before.

Therefore, I manned up and soldiered on. For another four pages. I didn't want to actually weep aloud so I stopped reading.

And then I recalled one book club member who skimmed Assam & Darjeeling in 20 minutes and kept insisting that she'd "read" the book ... but she had so many other books she was reading that she didn't have time to properly sit down with this one.

Right.

But ok, everyone loves her and we have good manners (unlike this commentary, I realize) and so we politely agreed to her fiction.

Which opened the gate for me to do the same. Almost.

I managed to page through and find where Karr actually goes to her knees to pray and gets a bit of response ... and will pick up skimming from there. Although the next meeting isn't for a few weeks. So there's no need to actually rush into this or anything (yes, I also enjoy procrastinating in my spare time ...)

UPDATE
Full disclosure ... I haven't read the first 200-250 pages. It is just that is the spot from which I am taking the plunge. As quick a plunge as possible. The book club is Monday so I've got to begin skimming now!

FINAL
I must say that I enjoyed the last part of the book fairly well. It didn't make me want to go back and read the beginning of it, but I have rarely read a better description of one's interaction with God than the last part of the book. So in the end, I am glad that I read the bit that I did. I'll be curious to see how everyone else liked it.
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Reading Progress

November 23, 2011 – Started Reading
November 23, 2011 – Shelved
November 23, 2011 –
page 10
2.59%
December 8, 2011 –
page 250
64.77%
December 10, 2011 –
page 290
75.13%
December 11, 2011 – Finished Reading

Comments (showing 1-20 of 20) (20 new)

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message 1: by Patrick (new)

Patrick Reminds me of Alice Roosevelt Longworth's "If you haven't got anything nice to say about anybody, come sit next to me." Seriously, in spite of the pique with which you wrote it, this is an informative review. Morever, your pique is entertaining because it is honest and sharply observed.


Julie Davis Thank you, gentlemen! :-)


message 3: by Andrew (new)

Andrew Ordover Just read the verbs.


Julie Davis Ooooo, great advice! :-D


message 5: by Mary (new)

Mary Were you not tipped off with the book cover that it would be about "me, me, me"? Look up Webster's definition of memoir. Just about always about the author.


message 6: by Kristen (new) - added it

Kristen hence...it's a memoir:)


message 7: by Laurette (new)

Laurette Fox I heard this and loved it. " Do you know why people in AA don't do well in church?...Nobody asks them to share."
Yes, yet another another tortured ,alcoholic writer.


message 8: by Julie (last edited Aug 13, 2013 05:46AM) (new) - rated it 2 stars

Julie Davis Mary wrote: "Were you not tipped off with the book cover that it would be about "me, me, me"? Look up Webster's definition of memoir. Just about always about the author."

Unless it is very well done, such as Agatha Christie's "Come Tell Me How You Live."

Now THAT is how to write a memoir (or her autobiography ... ). There are other memoirs which I enjoyed very much precisely because they were not like this self-indulgent book. :-)


Jenny (Reading Envy) I'm speed dating this book the next time I do a stack, because I think I won't care much for it and can gleefully (hopefully) remove it from my to-read list!


Julie Davis Jenny wrote: "I'm speed dating this book the next time I do a stack, because I think I won't care much for it and can gleefully (hopefully) remove it from my to-read list!"

I also feel that way about speed dating books that are iffy. Gleeful! I guess it is the result of having so many books on my "to read" list. I can get the Kindle samples, try out the writing style and cross those I dislike off the list.


Michelle Lawrence Hate memoirs. This was also for a book club. Read it the whole way through and also enjoyed it more at the end. Hated her writing style. You know you aren't enjoying a book when, as you are reading, your brain involuntarily starts inserting "blah, blah, blah" amongst the written word.


Jenny (Reading Envy) I didn't end up finishing it.

\o/


message 13: by Marcia (new)

Marcia Their books are inevitably about them? It's their story .. It's their life.. who ELSE would it be about? You comment, while you are entitled to it, made me laugh out loud at its absurdity ...They have the right to tell it.. they have many reasons for telling it.. they lived through it ...and if they found the LORD .. amen.. Its a MEMOIR... its suppose to be about them. Good GOD.....you first started your sentence with I Hate this genre ..of addicts telling their stories. you did the same thing..You made it all about you and your distaste for struggle.


Jillian I disagree that this is a book "told for Christian purposes". I was put off when it became evident she would find God, but she does so with an accessibility that even nonbelievers can at least understand


Julie Davis Marcia wrote: "Their books are inevitably about them? It's their story .. It's their life.. who ELSE would it be about? You comment, while you are entitled to it, made me laugh out loud at its absurdity ...They..."
Just saw this comment. Yeah, that review is about me, me, me. Good point. Which, I guess means that anyone who doesn't like it will understand why I hate that genre. :-D

In fairness, I will add that I don't bore people with my and my siblings' struggles because of our alcoholic father. We have better thing to talk about. Once again, possibly making it about me, me, me. :-)

For a great memoir I'll take Agatha Christie's autobiography every time. The section where she talks about her famous disappearance is one of the best written ever which doesn't drag us through the "me, me, me" phase but which gives an idea of the suffering and/or distress that occurred. Granted that isn't a long section. But, like Christie, I don't find that part of life interesting beyond all else.


message 16: by Judy (new) - rated it 2 stars

Judy Mann Read DRY by Augusten Burroughs. Dead on. You can even smell his boozey breath thru most of it.Not pleasant but he isn't trying to be pleasant. Really powerful . and REALLY well written . None of this Bible thumping- self absorbed goop. JM


Natalie Why would you read a memoir (a piece of written work containing collective experiences that affected the writers life) and then use that as your reasoning to hate it? I think there are some deeper issues here- lol.


Julie Davis Natalie wrote: "Why would you read a memoir (a piece of written work containing collective experiences that affected the writers life) and then use that as your reasoning to hate it? I think there are some deeper ..."

Because it was a book club choice from someone who loves that sort of book. Me - not so much.


message 19: by Jacki (new)

Jacki Day Lolz let me pick up a book clearly labeled as a memoir and then bitch about the fact that its a memoir.


Julie Davis Jacki wrote: "Lolz let me pick up a book clearly labeled as a memoir and then bitch about the fact that its a memoir."

Once again - book club choice, not mine.

Also, there are memoirs and memoirs ... Pancakes in Paris (coming in Sept.) tells us of just as much personal pain. But doesn't drag me through it with him. Thank the Lord. This book is for people who like to wallow in suffering.


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