The Liar’s Club by Mary Karr
352 pgs., 3 stars
SUMMARY: Mary Karr’s memoir The Liar’s Club is a coming of age tale based mostly in Texas but also in Colorado. Raised by dysfunctional parents with serious issues with alcohol, drugs, and violence, Mary formed a shell of meanness around her to keep the pity at bay. She was a scrappy little girl who tended to pick fights she couldn’t win and suffer the consequences. With strong filial attachment and a fear of/for her mother, Mary’s young life was a whirlwind of fights, divorce, picking sides, moving, abuse, and care-giving. The Liar’s Club is a tragic story of a girl, who never experienced anything stable in her life, told with sharp humor. You’re more likely to laugh than cry.
This book was tough to get through, partly because the narrative was all over the map. One minute you were with a 5-year-old Mary and the next she’s talking about college, but also because of the content (sexual abuse is never easy to read about). This was my second time reading it—I didn’t realize that until a few chapters in (the woes of reading too much!). I loved the quirky stories about how the family eats dinner together on the bed with their backs to each other and little anecdotes like that, but this is not a book that I would read a third time. Although, I am interested in her new book and will probably pick that up at some point.
FASHION: You ain’t first class and you’re pretty white trash. You’re wild and a little crazy too. Sweep your hair into a side bun, but make sure it gets severely tousled in a brawl with the neighbor’s bratty kids.
Your cut off jean shorts will keep you cool in the Texas summer heat. And those boots (red to match the cover, y’all) show people your someone not to be reckoned with, even if everyone knows you can’t fight worth a damn.
You love the Liar’s Club, the men AND their stories. But the Liar’s Club is you and your daddy’s secret. So don that liar t-shirt that flaunts your love, but cover it up with the Texas sweatshirt. Because even though Texas is home, it still broke your heart. It’s where your parents broke up, where you lost your innocence, and where you finally grew too old to join in the Liar’s Club. Plus, it gets chilly in Colorado!
Lastly, your over-the-shoulder bag carries all of your broken pieces that someday you hope to put back together, even if it’s just with Elmer’s glue and tape. Also it’s black leather which shows your rebellious side. You are never one to follow rules!