02 March 2010

Please Read Mary Karr

Mary Karr is a Texas native who wrote about growing up with an oil worker dad and an artist/bohmian mom in a small town that smelled like rotten eggs. She was a tomboy growing up and she wrote The Liar's Club about her eccentric family and her youth. This is a really tame description and you have to read the book to get the full effect of the dysfunction and nuance of her family and story. Her mother was married five times, twice to Mary's dad. He served in WWII and was a no-nonsense storyteller and drinker, part Okie and part Indian. Mary says that, in a town full of characters, her family stood out. There were gunshots, fires, and lots of drinking. Mary tells stories that are outright hilarious, sad, and bewildering. I fell in love with her after she tells the story about climbing the neighbors tree and taking shots at them with a bb gun as they are coming home from church. This was in response to a schoolyard altercation in which Mary did not get the best of the boy she was fighting. She writes about long, boring summer days, rereading To Kill A Mockingbird, and hanging out with her mom. One critic called her writing prose with a poet's use of words, which I guess is pretty accurate. If you love good stories or admire the use of language, this is a fantastic book. I personally liked Mary as a young girl so much that I developed a huge crush on her on the page. If she was my neighbor growing up I'm sure I would have been so infatuated with her that I would like her even if she shot me with a bb gun. Please go read this book.

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