Mary Karr on 20/20

May 2, 2010

Photo: 20/20 via Mary Karr

What was I–a 21-year-old college student–doing this past Friday night?

I wish I could say I was out partying with friends or hanging out with my boyfriend, but no; instead, I was laying in bed at 10 pm and watching 20/20 (really).

I was flipping through the different channels when I got to ABC and saw that 20/20 was doing a special on moms who are secretly alcoholics–I was hooked. Probably for the same reason I love to read memoir, I also love television shows like Intervention, Dateline, Dr. Phil and 20/20.

While I enjoyed the 20/20 special, the reason I’m sharing it here is because one of the woman they interviewed was memoirist Mary Karr. Karr’s latest memoir, “Lit,” focuses on her time as an alcoholic and her recovery from her addiction. For anyone interested in Karr, definitely check out the episode on 20/20’s Web site and an article about Karr’s interview.

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Photo: Marion Ettlinger

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?”

Read the rest of this entry »

Photo: HarperCollins

Before I had even decided to write about memoir, my journalism professor mentioned a new memoir that she had heard great buzz about: Roger Rosenblatt’s “Making Toast.”

I requested it from my local library over spring break, my mom picked it up for me a week later and I brought it back to school with me last weekend when I went home for Easter. The book is now seriously overdue, but if the large fines end up getting me banned from my library, at least I picked a book that made it worthwhile.

“Making Toast” originally appeared in The New Yorker as an essay. Read the rest of this entry »

Photo: Amazon

A few posts ago, I wrote about Jennifer Traig’s memoir, “Devil in the Details,” that I bought at the Strand for $11.50.

As a gift to myself because—as my mom made sure to point out earlier this week—the Easter bunny doesn’t come to college kids, I’ve been skipping my law readings this past week to read Traig’s memoir. Not quite an even swap, but I’ve convinced myself that since it’s a memoir I can consider it research for my blog.

I’m about halfway through “Devil in the Details” and I can’t put it down. Traig’s scrupulosity, a psychological condition often known as a religious form of obsessive compulsive disorder, has the potential to be an upsetting and even off-putting topic (for those unaware of Jewish traditions); however, Traig’s ability to reflect on her own ridiculous actions with candid humor and sarcasm makes the book an entertaining read in addition to an accurate look at a life-consuming disorder.

If you’re interested in reading “Devil in the Details” (which I hope you are), I suggest taking advantage of Amazon’s current low price of $3.25.