Lit

By Mary Karr,

Book cover of Lit

Book description

The long awaited sequel to the beloved and bestselling 'The Liars' Club' and 'Cherry' - a memoir about a self-professed 'blackbelt sinner's' descent into the inferno of alcoholism and madness, and her astonishing resurrection.

'If you'd told me, even a year before I start taking my son to church regular…

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Why read it?

5 authors picked Lit as one of their favorite books. Why do they recommend it?

Karr's memoir diverges from my other recommendations insofar as it’s a memoir and features just one woman’s voice.

I found this book while living in Madrid over a decade ago and remember sneaking out into the living room late at night to read it. Karr is a master storyteller and a master memoirist – highly relatable even if you’ve never struggled with alcoholism. 

From Katie's list on women’s voices.

Mary Karr is one of my all-time favorite authors. In Lit, Karr tells the story of her mother’s alcoholism and how it affected her childhood and adulthood. I liked the ending, where she shares her own astonishing resurrection. Like me, Karr longs for a family of her own and when she marries a handsome wealthy man and they have a son, it looks as though her dreams have come true. But that is not her fate. The book is raw with emotion as Karr invites us on her journey to herself.

I loved her first two memoirs and was excited when this one came out. Karr opens the title with a letter to her son. I like to think of my own memoir as a thank you to my daughter, who I believe came to help me get sober. I related so much to Karr's story—like mine, her only child was five when she and her husband split, thrusting her into a life of single parenting. And though her professional life was far different from my own (as well as her conversion to Catholicism, the religion of my childhood I was…

Karr is a poet, and you cannot race through Lit. Her language is to be untangled and savored. Only then can you grasp the profound dawning of a woman as she stumbles, soberly, towards God. In the last half, Karr is desperation personified, and she is encouraged by an AA fellow to pray. I was enthralled by Karr’s journey to find a Higher Power, trying on spirituality and religions with a fierce and humble willingness. (The 12-Steps are not about religion.) Karr does find an unlikely connection to Catholicism. I’m grateful for her transparency; the open window into her…

From Henriette's list on getting inside the addict’s mind.

LIT is Mary Karr’s third memoir, and my favorite (which says a lot because I could not put down The Liar’s Club or Cherry). It is a book about something fairly common – alcoholism – but it is a true, no holds barred, let-me-tell-you-just-how-much-of-a-wreck-I-was account of the way drinking skewed her thinking, affected her relationships and her work, and how she finally turned to prayer to work her way out. This is NOT a book about Jesus-is-your-savior, nor is it preachy about “to booze or not to booze.” It is a book about how, if you are willing to…

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