Tag Archives: The Liar’s Club

The Liar’s Club – Review

I finally buckled down and made myself finish the 2nd half of this book. My review of this book is really mixed up and I’m still trying to figure out how I feel about it. Its weird reviewing a memoir. You can’t review a person’s life and put a seal of approval on it. That’s not for me to judge. So, I shall review the technical aspects of the book, namely the writing style.

Mary Karr’s childhood is frightening, inspiring, and just plain crazy. I discovered whole new levels of crazy. The strength to survive was so primal, yet progressive in her sister Lecia. Her dad was the solid foundation of sanity and security, and the time when he wasn’t there, proved to be some of the worse moments of her childhood. The whole family worked well with each other, balancing each other out in some way that only makes sense to them. They work as counterparts to each other, supporting, humbling and always willing to die for each other.

My major complaint about this book, is that there was too much going on. Each page was filled with dramatic episode after dramatic episode, and Karr has a very blunt perspective on her childhood, which I admire. It takes a lot of courage to say “this is what happened, I own up to it”. People always make excuses for their childhood, blaming everyone but themselves. But I didn’t feel that she expected to draw pity out of her readers. She just wanted to share her story.

My other complaint, is that her transitions between stories in chapters were awkward, jumpy and just left me confused. She would spend pages and pages detailing her duck-hunting trips with her father, yet would only tersely jump from pissing off a parent, to being sexually abused by some unknown, unnamed babysitter. Obviously, one incident is more traumatic than the other, and I can understand why she wouldn’t want to spend too much focusing on the latter incident. It just struck as very out of the blue they way it would take place when most of her stories would have a full set-up.

She is a funny writer though. Her sense of humor made some of the worse scenes easier to read. Those are the two aspects of the memoir that I enjoyed the most. Her sense of humor and the incredibly strong family loyalty. Whether its driven by fear, or just plain love, this is one family that starts storms and fights them off together.

I’m not sure who I would recommend this book too. All I can say is pick a random chapter somewhere in the book and read it. If you like what you read, keep going, if you don’t…well, just put it back on the shelf and keep moving. This book takes some dedication to read though, it deserves a lot of time and energy to plow through the 312 pages.

Find this book at your local library

The Liar’s Club
Mary Karr
ISBN: 0-14-303574-6
320 pages

Island of Dr. Moreau

Book #2 of 2008! Done!!

This book was much more eerie than War of the Worlds. This one tread too dangerously what could actually happen in this era. Although this book was written as a commentary on Evolution, with half man, half beast creatures roaming on a deserted island, it can also be a commentary on stem-cell research and cloning.

I’m not against scientific advances, I hope I get to see more revolutional scientific breakthroughs in my lifetime. I just wonder and worry at the greed and ego that comes along with it. You are, in a sense playing God, which is what Dr. Moreau was to his Beast People. He deified himself to their simple minds, and you could even see a transformation of the narrator, from innocent observer, to almost falling into the same mind-frame of Moreau when trying to control and rule over the Beast People.

I’ll think I’ll take a break from Sci-fi books for a while. Between reading two HG Wells novels at a time and having mini-marathons of Supernatural each night, I don’t want to numb my sense and appeal to the surreal.

Next book on my list is The Liar’s Club, which I am adamant to finish. And I think I’ll pick up where I left off on Blankets.

Find this book at your local library

Reads and reviews

I suppose since my English BA background is in 19th and 20th Century literature, I’m not often tempted to read very many contemporary works of fiction. Other than Neil Gaiman, I think I stay pretty faithful to the greats of history.

I guess I can only hope that my little reviews won’t just be reiterating what people already think about these books. Obviously they’ve been classified under “Classics” for a reason.

I should make a fair portion of my to-read list forced contemporary, just so I can stay in touch with today’s world and stop delving into the past.

In that tone, the Liar’s Club by Mary Karr is a really hard book to get into. Its not hard in the writing style, or plot. Its a memoir and the writing style is short of jumpy, and as crazy as her family is, my attention wanders from the book frequently.

Its an honest book. I don’t think the author sat down to write this memoir with the intention of being poetic about or sugarcoating her childhood. I appreciate the fact that someone else had a dysfunctional childhood in a dysfuntional family. Those stories are the most fun to read anyways.

Currently Reading

  1. War of theWorlds: HG Wells
  2. Island of Dr. Moreau: HG Wells
  3. The Liar’s Club: Mary Karr
I’m on a mission to read 100 books before the year is over. I’m hoping that about a quarter of that amount will come from my own bookshelf of unread books…but it doesn’t seem very likely. I’m also delving through this list of 1001 books to read before you die from this website: