Kira's Reviews > The Liars' Club

The Liars' Club by Mary Karr
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's review
Jan 16, 2012

liked it

The memoir genre has seen heavy rotation since The Liar’s Club came out, and I think that puts the book at a disadvantage today, as does what I consider a general desensitization to family dysfunction. This isn’t to say that I don’t believe Karr’s childhood was tragic—that goes without saying—just that in the era of reality television and tabloid gossip, it sometimes feels like everyone’s dealing with dysfunction. What family doesn’t include a drunk, or a liar, or a cheater? What kid hasn’t experienced bullying? What daughter doesn’t have a slightly tortured relationship with her father? Perhaps because I watch enough Intervention and Celebrity Rehab to kill a small horse (reality TV kills horses, no?) and because I read enough news to assume the world is an awful place full of awful people, and because I’ve dealt with the ramifications of alcoholism in my own family, I feel like some terrible part of me was expecting Karr’s story to somehow be worse, to be more epic. So maybe at the end of the day, the problem with this book wasn’t this book; maybe the problem was me.

If you haven’t read it, The Liar’s Club is indeed full of tragedy, but its strengths are in nuance. Karr doesn’t aim to create disaster porn, and the end product isn’t. Ultimately, that’s a good thing.


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