Book Review: The Liars' Club

The Liars' Club
By Mary Karr

This quarter in grad school, I'm taking a class about writing memoirs. So far, it's been super fun. I've had a great time exploring my past, writing short pieces about different times in my life, and engaging in some self-deprecating humor. I've also been adding comics to my memoirs for class. For each story I write, I'm adding a little comic to go before it, a more humorous and light-hearted take on the subject matter I'm about to discuss.

But that's enough about me! Today I'm reviewing a book!

In my memoir class, the first book we read to discuss was The Liars' Club by Mary Karr. Apparently, this book was one of the first popular memoirs written by an average person. Until the 90s or so, "memoir" wasn't really considered its own genre; memoirs were just things that politicians and movie stars and popes and saints wrote. This book was one of the first books to change that. Nowadays, we see memoirs by all kinds of people! From graphic memoirs to essay collections, it's become clear that memoir is less about how much publicity you've already gained, and more about how you choose to tell an interesting story. I think that's awesome, and I applaud Karr for being a pioneer in this movement.

In this book, Karr, details her unusual childhood growing up in Texas and Colorado in the 1960s. Her story covers some darker events, like her mother's psychotic breaks and the two times she was raped at 7 and 8 years old. So, I would say this is not a book to read if you're looking for something light and funny. Now that's not to say there isn't some great humor in here. Karr does a fabulous job of telling a story in a consistent voice, never straying from her small-town dialect to take on a more "authorial" tone. Her writing is relatable and honest.

I would recommend this book, especially if you're considering writing a memoir. The only warning I would give is that it does get very intense at times, so just know that going into it.

Have you read this book? If so, what are your thoughts? Feel free to leave them in the comments below!

I'll be reading a few more books for that class, so I'll try to review all of them here as well, in addition to all of the business self-help books I'm in the midst of reading!

What are you reading right now?

Happy Wednesday!



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