Mary Karr: The Memoirist Everyone is Talking About
April 18, 2010
In the past few weeks, I have interviewed authors of memoirs (both self-published and Pulitzer-nominated), a college professor who teaches memoir writing classes, a student at a memoir writing class, a creator of a memoir blog and numerous people who enjoy reading memoir.
I posed similar questions to each of them, but their responses only seemed to match up on one:
“What is your favorite memoir?”
Almost every person responded with two or three of their favorites, and in that group one name became repetitive: Mary Karr.
Karr, 55, is the author of three memoirs, “The Liar’s Club,” “Cherry” and “Lit.” “The Liar’s Club,” published in 1995, was a New York Times bestseller for over a year. Her first memoir is about her troubled childhood, her second about her late adolescence and her third about her transition from an alcoholic to a Christian.
I have never read any of Karr’s memoirs, so I cannot tell you why they’re great. From what I’ve been told, her writing style, greatly influenced by her experience as a poet, is what sets her books apart. I’m not the biggest fan of poetry, but I’m going to look past that and read at least one of Karr’s memoirs to find out why, as author Marya Hornbacher said, “Mary Karr’s memoirs are fantastic.”