Book Review: THE LIARS' CLUB, by Mary Karr

I sort of fell out of the habit of memoirs after analyzing the joy right out of a few good ones in college, but THE LIAR'S CLUB was a book club assignment (and it was a whole heck of a lot better than the last one), so I had a deadline to get me reading. This turned out for the best, because THE LIAR'S CLUB is brutally good.

I say "brutal" because Karr's childhood is exactly that, and the way she tells of growing up in Leechfield, Texas, with a famiy as dysfunctional as they come, is brutally honest and quite discerning--not "disturbing", but "discerning", because she knew what to put in, and what to leave out. Her telling isn't steeped in bitterness--instead, she uses the best edge of humor to separate herself from the story's events, but also to retain a certain child-like sense of awe and unflinching love.

THE LIAR'S CLUB is sort of the polar opposite of The Ya-Ya Sisterhood: though there are some similarities (the peppery smell of gumbo cooking is enough to make my eyes water, and the sticky heat of the bayou makes the sweat bead up on my upper lip, no matter that I've never seen a swamp, nor spent a night tossing in that oppressive damp), there is not a Southern belle to be seen in Karr's memoir. I give her two thumbs up.


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