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Lit: A Memoir


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About the Author

Mary Karr was born in 1955 in Texas. She is an American poet, essayist and memoirist. She was a Guggenheim Fellow in poetry in 2005 and has won Pushcart prizes for both her poetry and her essays. She is the author of three memoirs, The Liar's Club, Cherry and Lit. She lives in New York where she teaches English at Syracuse University.


Currently an award-winning, best-selling memoirist who described herself as an "on-my-knees [Catholic] spouter of praise" in a 2007 New York Times blog interview, Karr (The Liars' Club; Cherry) narrowly escaped a troubled upbringing and early adulthood that included alcoholic, psychotic parents, being raped as a child, and her own descent into alcoholism. She describes hitting rock bottom-an event that marked her transformation into the mother she was trying to escape-and her subsequent conversion to Catholicism in addition to the maturation of her writing style. The writing here sometimes seems affected, but her tale is riveting, her style clear-eyed and frank. That Karr survived the emotional and physical journey she regales her readers with to become the evenhanded, self-disciplined writer she is today is arguably nothing short of a miracle, and readers of her previous two books won't be disappointed. Verdict This latest installment of Karr's autobiographical saga is essential for fans of lurid, meaty memoirs. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 7/09.]-Megan Hodge, Randolph-Macon Coll. Lib., Ashland, VA Copyright 2009 Reed Business Information.

'Searing. . . A book that lassos you, hogties your emotions and won't let you go. . . Chronicles with searching intelligence, humor and grace the author's slow, sometimes exhilarating, sometimes painful discovery of her vocation and her voice as a poet and writer.' Michiko Kakutani, New York Times

'A brutally honest, sparkling story.' Glamour

'Dazzling. . . Lit reminds us not only how compelling personal stories can be, but how, in the hands of a master, they can transmute into the highest art.' Boston Globe

'Scrappy, gut-wrenching, irresistible. [Written] with trademark wit, precision, and unfailing courage.' Pam Houston, O Magazine

'Karr could tell you what's on her grocery list, and its humor would make you bust a gut. She holds the position of grande dame memoirista.' Samantha Dunn, Los Angeles Times

'An absolute gem that secures Karr's place as one of the best memoirists of her generation. . . [She] writes with a singular combination of poetic grace and Texan verve.' Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

Karr performs her brave memoir about alcoholism, getting sober, and getting God in a confident Texas drawl. Readers familiar with The Liar's Club, Karr's account of her childhood will find parallels-her descent into alcoholism differs from her mother's addiction only in the details. Karr revisits her past with rare candor and humor, recounting her role in the disintegration of her marriage to "Warren Whitbread," the reserved scion of a fabulously wealthy family (whose other members are deliciously skewered here), and her most shameful moments (leaving her feverish toddler to take a long swig from the bottle of Jack Daniels stashed in the oven). When Karr undergoes a hard-won spiritual awakening through the combined efforts of AA; her spiritual director, Joan the Bone; and a stay in the "Mental Marriott," listeners will be cheering. A Harper hardcover. (Mar.) Copyright 2010 Reed Business Information.

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