Read Ebook ♜ The Liars' Club: A Memoir ♵

The tragic life of two sisters, as told by the younger sister, in a small East Texas Total dysfunction and quite sad The author writes of every bad detail with no good news between the lines The final chapters will bring some explanation for their terrible upbringing The reviews on the back of this book claim it to be wickedly funny , astonishing, moving memoir , howling misery and howling laughter, with the reader veering towards howling laughter , and, a crazy family tormented by unspoken sorrowsresult is funny, lively and un put downable I saw nothing humorous in this book I just found it sad and the reviews are not accurate, in my opinion. The Liars Club is Mary Karr s memoir of her childhood growing up in a small, east Texas oil town, and was first published in 1995 The thought of how this woman s writing has managed to escape me until two weeks ago is unnerving I blame all of you, actually, for not telling me about her sooner Jesus and the angels will help me recover from this most bitter betrayal.From the first page of this book I was sucked in I had to sleep with it next to my head on my pillow and carry it around with me at all times When I finished it, I wanted to read again Her writing is brutal, ballsy, alluring and sharp.Mary was the type of child who, at the age of nine, climbed up a tree and started shooting bbs at the family of a boy who insulted her She would flip off her grade school teachers and tell other authority figures to, Eat me raw, thinking it was just another way of saying, Kiss my ass Yeah, so when you see your neighbors children behaving like anarchist strippers on crack and you wonder if you should call child protective services, you might want to read this book first, because its hilarious and tragic and the best damn thing I ve read in a long time And I m not saying it should have any bearing on you making that call That s between you and God What I m saying is Brutally Sharp Alluring Balls, people, that s all I m sayin. Read Ebook ♔ The Liars' Club: A Memoir ♲ When It Was Published In , Mary Karr S The Liars Club Took The World By Storm And Raised The Art Of The Memoir To An Entirely New Level, As Well As Bringing About A Dramatic Revival Of The Form Karr S Comic Childhood In An East Texas Oil Town Brings Us Characters As Darkly Hilarious As Any Of J D Salinger S A Hard Drinking Daddy, A Sister Who Can Talk Down The Sheriff At Twelve, And An Oft Married Mother Whose Accumulated Secrets Threaten To Destroy Them All Now With A New Introduction That Discusses Her Memoir S Impact On Her Family, This Unsentimental And Profoundly Moving Account Of An Apocalyptic Childhood Is As Funny, Lively, And Un Put Downable USA Today Today As It Ever Was I am confoundingly happy that poets can also be great novelists Better yet, sometimes expert autobiographers.Shares the same bookshelf with Jeanette Walls also mighty impressive nonfiction autobio The Glass Castle. Re read I stand by the five star rating Karr s voice is pure, poetic and real Though my childhood was nothing like hers, the bits which I identify with stir up an amazing welter of emotions and ghosts for me I fall overboard into this memoir and can smell the East Texas refinery town just like I d grown up there Karr s description of her mother s Nervousness is priceless and heartwrenching The whole book is beautifully written, so much so that one hardly realizes how deeply dysfunctional the family is until one surfaces, after, and looks around one s own life. Warning This review contains spoilers.To start out with, I find the title somewhat misleading The Liars Club is the author s father and his drinking buddies Yet this book is not only about this group of alcoholics Thus, the title does not really cover the whole book Yet this is the smallest beef I have with this book.I SOLEMNLY SWEAR that I ll try really hard to never ever read a bestseller again unless it is a classic that has stood the test of time The Liars Club is a bestseller Stephen King has recommended it in his superb book On Writing And one of the reviews onis titled with The Best Memoir You Will Ever Read Since I am a memoir writer myself, I was very curious what a superlative deserving memoir would be like So I rushed to buy and read this book Sadly, however, my high expectations were to be gravely disappointed.I must give it to the author Her story is quite unusual Take an irresponsible, alcoholic, narcissistic, mentally ill mother Add an irresponsible, alcoholic, lowlife father And what you get is a family situation that isSorry, I can t find an adjective strong enough So let me just say that throughout this book, I felt like screaming, Where is Family Services The author and her 3 year older sister should have been taken away from their parents not for one good reason but for ongoing child neglect and child endangering both of which resulted in significant damage.The story is so unbelievable that numerous reviews onrated the book 1 star and refused to believe a word of it I read some of these reviews when I was about one third into the book, and I was puzzled I didn t get it The most positive I could say about this book so far was that it was brutally honest But reading on, I ran into severe inconsistencies The book has three photographs added to the text The first is of the author as an adult Nothing wrong with this Yet the second photograph, on page 175, before chapter 9, shows the author with her 3 year older sister and has the caption II Colorado 1963 Since the family had just arrived in Colorado that year, this makes the author 8 years old and her sister 11 years old However, I ll bet you anything that the two kids on this photograph are not any older than 4 and 7 years This photograph shows the author as a sweet little kiddo with a chubby face and chubby hands, as quite normal for a 3 to 4 year old You might say, So what They accidentally got the wrong photograph into the book This can happen Accidentally, the wrong photograph in the 10 year anniversary edition of this bestseller, a book that only includes a total of 3 photographs Sorry, I don t buy this.And this photograph is not the only inconsistency Let s start with the third photograph This picture is on page 273, before chapter 14, and has the caption III Texas Again, 1980 It obviously shows the author s father, a man who is, at the time, a 62 year old drunkard who will soon succumb to his unhealthy lifestyle And now I am asking you Does a 62 year old alcoholic look like a handsome 35 to 40 year old I don t think so Not that this matters too much Yet again, wrong photograph, I suppose However, there areinconsistencies Early in the book, the author states that she could not tie her shoe laces in grade 2, at age 7 Said that she lacked all talent necessary to tie a shoe lace Nevertheless, about half a year later, in Colorado, she has learned in no time how to put a saddle and a bridle on a horse Yet she also masters to ride bareback Not only that Within weeks, she becomes a skilled horseback rider who wins in a riding contest And that s not all yet She and her sister, two kids 8 and 11 years old, are allowed to take daily, day long trips up the mountains, all by themselves, with no one accompanying them This is a wilderness that contains grizzly bears yes, grizzly bears, not just black bears , mountain lions, wolves, and coyotes, all of which might enjoy two small girls for lunch This on horses that shy upon the sight of a chipmunk Not even talking about rattle snakes, which might also cross the horses path And all of these trips without a map and without any survival gear Even if these kids irresponsible parents would have allowed their children to make day trips into this mountain wilderness, which no outdoor savvy adult would be likely to enter without a map, a weapon, and some survival gear, wouldn t one think that the people where the horses were boarded would have prevented such child endangerment And there are other issues I have with this book While I was not surprised that the neglect of these children would at some time lead to sexual encounters, I did not want to learn about these happenings in the most appalling details I have no desire to read porn, and even less child porn Even though I jumped parts of these detailed descriptions, what I read was still enough to make me feel nauseated And I do NOT have a queazy stomach If you read Running With Scissors and found parts of it too disgusting to stomach, do yourself a favor and do not touch this book It is worse.And I have another problem with the sexual contents of this book The author kind of prides herself having been such a strong personality, so self reliant, and so street wise and even ferocious to the point that older children and even adults were afraid of her So why does she not even make an attempt to fight or escape when she is assaulted first time, at age 7, by an older boy second time at age 8, by an adult Neither of these predators had used any real force on her Let me tell you, I, too, was molested when I was 7 years old The pedophile showed me his sexual organ and started to tickle me I was neither self reliant nor was I street wise, and I certainly was not ferocious Yet I have always been a strong personality I fought this man and escaped before he could do me any harm That is if you disregard the emotional damage, which lasted into adulthood Having seen something unchaste was a sin, and I was too embarrassed to mention this incident when I went to confession Thus, into my teenage years, I considered myself living in sin and expected to go straight to hell if I happened to die I also was so appalled by the looks of what I had seen that I was into my twenties and married when I still preferred to see a man dressed to seeing him undressed So why didn t the author make the slightest attempt to fight or escape I could see a weak personality child or adult being paralyzed in such situation and unable to move But a wild, aggressive, and even ferocious kid Seems strange to me.And there is something else The author keeps reflecting on the actions of the adults in a rather un childlike manner If certain things she says are true, she was probably an early developer But a child is still a child Having been an early developer myself, I know what an early developer thinks, but I also know what an early developer does NOT think So, for instance, a child early developer or not is unlikely to make a difference between skilled adults handling weapons and not so skilled adults handling weapons However, the author claims that it did not scare her when her father and his drinking buddies handled weapons as intoxicated as they might have been but that it scared her when the bar flies in her mother s pub acquired weapons I don t think that an 8 year old child would make this difference And from the author s other actions, I was not left with the impression that she was the least bit safety minded So why, all of a sudden, these concerns The language the parents of the author and their social contacts are using is as profane as it gets I can take quite a bit of foul language when it adds to the authenticity of the characters in a book before I get annoyed, but too much is too much There is a limit At some point, I thought to myself, Do I really want to listen to this or rather read this for 320 pages in very small print And I also had no desire to learn approximately half a dozen of vulgar synonyms for a male sexual organ in aroused state.Then, at page 275, at chapter 14, the author skips 17 years We don t learn what happened to her and her family between her age 8 and age 25 There is only a short mentioning that the author became a drinker, an opium user, and a drifter, some time in her teenage years I assume we are supposed to buy and read the sequel to the above book in order to learn what happened during those 17 years I am afraid I will have to die without ever having learned about these 17 missing years because unless someone kidnaps me and locks me into a room with this sequel and no other books or entertainment, I am quite unlikely to read another book by this author I think, with The Liars Club , I have read enough foul language such as motherf and cocks and unsolicited child porn to last me for the next 300 years.In chapter 15, the last chapter of the book, the author finally gets her mother to tell herabout her past and to reveal to her a family secret This is obviously meant as some kind of a happy end and is supposed to explain all of her mother s utterly irresponsible behavior and even her bouts of insanity always triggered by heavy drinking Sorry Doesn t fly with me Whatever her mother might have suffered as a teenager and young woman and I doubt that nothing of this was her fault does not excuse any of her behavior and especially not her continuous drunk driving This continuous drunk driving is not only practiced by the author s mother and father but also, in later years, by the author herself It is a miracle that no humans and only a pitiable cat came to harm due to this irresponsible drunk driving The end of the book also depicts the author s father as a WWII hero Maybe this is true And if it is, I ll thank him for his service Yet this, too, does not excuse his irresponsible behavior and particularly his continuous drunk driving.Why would Stephen King recommend this book My only explanation is that Stephen King is a fan of the horror genre And this book can truly be called a horror story Mind you, the book description and also many reviews call this book sad and funny I must say that I could not laugh a single time You probably need the kind of humor that lets you laugh at broken bones, careless driving under the influence, and a mother leaving her children with untrustworthy bar flies to find this book funny I do not have this kind of humor.All in all, I do not like any of the characters in this book, including the author whom I find lacking kindness and compassion , with maybe the exception of the author s maternal grandmother, whom, btw, the author has despised and wished dead all along This grandmother may not have been overly likable either, but I pity her from all my heart, not only for what she physically suffered during the last year of her life but also for having to spend the last chapter of her life in such a chaotic household, with an alcoholic, deranged daughter even though it says in the book that she miraculously pulled herself together while her mother came to live with the family and terribly behaved grandchildren, namely, the author and her sister.So what do I believe of all this Hard to tell Maybe the author suffers from pseudologia fantastica and has just simply been making things up More likely, however, she had random memories she could not correlate to a certain time and age Thus, she might have put them together as she saw fit to make an interesting story And I would not put it beyond her to have exaggerated and embellished whatever suited her It seems to me that this book is a mixture of Dichtung und Wahrheit Poetry and Truth Did I like anything about this book Yes I did The book is well written, at least for the most part It gets rather disconnected at times, especially in the last two chapters I particularly liked the creative allegories.Still, summa summarum very disappointing Aus meinem Leben Dichtung und Wahrheit From my Life Poetry and Truth 1811 1833 is an autobiography by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe that comprises the time from the poet s childhood to the days in 1775, when he was about to leave for Weimar Update April 16, 2018 Please note comment 24 and my response to it with comment 25 It is obviously not beyond the author or the publisher to hire people to write nasty comments on negative reviews. Story Tellers and PoodlesMary Karr s father was a working class Texan who belonged to a group of ex servicemen who hung out together at an American Legion poolroom and bar, drinking, shooting pool, playing cards and dominoes, and telling stories, some melancholy, some humorous, some real, some imagined, some tall, some short, hence the name given to them by one of their wives,the Liars Club.Daddy achieved the rank of sergeant and declined a promotion as a result of his battlefield courage, because in his eyes any rank higher than a sergeant would have made him apoodleand he didn t want to drink in an officers club or belong to apoodle club.You get the impression that the stories told by a poodle would have been of a vastly different calibre, less gritty and real life, less founded or grounded in their own experiences, less spontaneous, less memorable, less authentic,fabricated, edge u kated ,pompous, with less sensitivity to the cadences of the spoken word and the oral tradition.Books and StoriesMary was allowed to hang out with the Liars Club when she was between seven and nine years old, and it seems her way of storytelling was influenced by what she heard It created a permanent bond with her father, over and above her parallel affection for her eccentric mother, who instilled in her a love of art and culture and literature she read Homer, Ovid, Virgil, Sartre on the porch, while next to her side of the bed was a wobbly tower of hardback books and defiantly un self conscious non hipster non conformity Mary acknowledges in her dedication that her mother and father taught her tolove books and stories, respectively.Being BelievedLiars Clubis the first of three memoirs of Mary s life, and at the time of this review, the only one that I ve read.Mother fancied herself a sort of Bohemian Scarlet O Hara, while Daddy was some part Indianwe never figured out which tribe ,black haired and sharp featuredDaddy was handsome enough and the proper blend of outlaw and citizen Of all the men in the Liars Club, Daddy told the best stories When he started one, the guys invariably fell quiet, studying their laps or their cards or the inner rims of their beer mugs like men in prayer No matter how many tangents he took or how far the tale flew from its starting point before he reeled it back, he had this gift he knew how to be believed He mastered it the way he mastered bluffing in pokerhis tough half breed face would move between solemn blankness and sudden caricature He kept stock expressions for stock characters When his jaw jutted and stiffened and his eyes squinted, I expected to hear the faint brogue of his uncle HuskyHis sister pursed her lips in steady disapproval Mary Karr makes no pretence that books and stories are the same thing, or that they are composed the same way, or that there is only one way to tell a story, write a memoir or create a fiction, whether autobiographical or not However, like her Daddy, what matters is the skill ofbeing believed.Karr is now a Professor of Literature, who teaches and has influenced the art of contemporary memoir.Whether consciously or not, reading this work made me question a lot of the authorial practices that are passed off as good writing in the hallowed corridors and holy book clubs of GoodReads.How often do we have to be told about William H Gass superlative sentence construction last on display inOmensetter s Luckand strangely absent from his subsequent bloated inditements No sentence works in isolation from others, it needs companions in his own words,prose cannot describe without beginning to narrate. One great sentence does not a narrative or a fiction or a literary work make.When many sentences work in conjunction with each other, the focus turns to the juxtaposition and the relationship of the sentences, what they work towards, how one sentencelooks forward to the words and events that are about to arrive.Narrative Sentencesin the collectionLife Sentences The narrative draws attention to its propulsion or the flow from one sentence to another.Mary Karr has mastered this propulsion in spades Her sentences form a sequence as elegant as a change of baton in a relay race.Gassius Otter Spotter and the Order of the PoodleIronically, William H Gass, the ultimate popcorn and scotch quaffing poodle who has used his criticism to ensconce himself in the Officers Club to dictate academic, literary and reading practice , doesn t seem to recognise or appreciate this as a skill, instead pouring scorn on the facility of so called middlebrow proseWhen reviewers take the trouble to compliment a writer on her style, it is usually because she has made it easy for them to slide from one sentence to another like an otter down a slope What s wrong with an otter on a slope Is it that Gass requiresdifficulty for fiction to be worthy or important What s behind his fear of the Deathly Shallows Is there only one way to write That ordained by the Grand Master of the Poodle Club Is literature meant to be the preserve of only Poodles Like Us Occupy Thrall StreetIf anything, Mary Karr concluded that she needed to strive for greater simplicity, less trickster affectation, albeit not at the expense of sophisticationI had a comma stutter in the first book, which I corrected in the second Mary Karr hints at her motivation in a poem about her father calledIlliterate Progenitor My father lived so far from the pageThe only mail he got was marked Occupant It s difficult to accept what your psyche or history dooms you to write, what Faulkner would call your postage stamp of reality Young writers often mistakenly choose a certain vein or style based on who they want to be, unconsciously trying to blot out who they actually are You want to escape yourself For almost ten years it didn t occur to me that I should exploit Daddy s blue collar idiom I was trying to pass for edge u kated Her concern, at least in the context of memoir, is to be believable This believability can only be achieved at the level of the sentence and the narrativeStrangely, readers believe what s rendered with physical clarity My Texas oil worker daddy introduced me as a kid to the raconteur s need for physical evidence when he told me a story about selling fake moonshine to some city boys His brother was driving off with Daddy hanging on the running board of a Model T when a pursuer driving alongside snatched Daddy s pants off from behind Bull dookey , I said You saw that in Bugs Bunny You don t believe me I didn t I had this shirt on when it happened My mouth slung itself open It s sad how long I believed stories based on arbitrary physical objects that my daddy fished out from his past and plunked down into my present, like that shirt It became totemic evidence that elevated the tall tale into reality Getting sophisticated about carnal writing By carnal, I mean, can you apprehend it through the five senses means selecting sensual data items, odors, sounds to recount details based on their psychological effects on a reader A great detail feels particular in a way that argues for its truth A reader can take it in The best have extra poetic meaning In some magic way, the detail from its singular position in a room can help to evoke the rest of the whole scene The great writer trolls the world for totemic objects to place on a page In every genre, it s key No detail is Brand X or generic It all springs, as Keats once said of metaphor, like leaves from a tree Of course, physical details, however convincing, actually prove zip in terms of truth Surely I misremember all kinds of stuff Maybe the boy I kissed was chewing Bazooka Joe or Dubble Bubble, say But I think in this case the specific memory even if wrong is permissible, because readers understand the flaws of memory and allow for them Literature as a Vivid Language ExperienceMary Karr s memoir resonates partly because of its indebtedness to the oral traditionPublic readings and the oral tradition are important to me An aesthetic experience is fine, but unless someone is infused with feeling from a work of art, it s totally without conviction My idea of art is, you write something that makes people feel so strongly that they get some conviction about who they want to be or what they want to do It s morally useful not in a political way, but it makes your heart bigger it s emotionally and spiritually empowering I feel like the reader has given up twenty plus dollars, and I owe her a vivid experience without lying Ultimately, this is all we can expect of any author their own vision of a vivid language experience, something that comes from them and does not kowtow to self proclaimed academic mandarins and their imperious lieutenants and promoters, something that is not dictated by poodles trying to shape and strangle literature in their own shelfish image Let the poodles have their poodle dookey to themselves Daddy s Wallet ExcerptThat reminded Mother to fish Daddy s wallet from his jeans jacket in the backseat She unfolded the wings of it and started picking past onionskin gas receipts and ticket stubs There was a cocktail napkin with the point spread from a baseball game on which the lights had long since gone dim Strangest of all, she found two documents of mine the one college report card where I pulled down straight A s, and a Xerox of my first published poem The poem was about Daddy s sister It had been unfolded so many times and smoothed across so many damp bar tops the parchment warped and buckled The middle creases were cloudy with blurred ink The notion of his toting that around nearly broke me in half crying, so Mother started bawling too We blubbered in a wild chorus behind bobbing headlights all the way home I fully anticipated that I would love this book Almost everyone else has And has then gone on to love her two subsequent memoirs But, I have to say, I probably found the 10th Anniversary Foreword and the last chapter when the reader finds out, at least in part, why her mother is so insane the most compelling The rest of it I just couldn t get into It s not that nothing happens because plenty does but at times I felt like SO MUCH happened that the reader wasn t given any clue as to what was actually important and what was just detail I didn t feel like there was any narrative arc And I couldn t bring myself to care all that much, about the story or about the characters.Which brings me to my final point the majority of the book covers Karr s childhood before the age of 8 I understand that memoir can be just as subjective as fiction and I m not bothered by this I also read that Karr thanks her mother and sister in the acknowledgments for helping her to recall certain events But honestly, I find it seriously hard to believe that she could possibly have the memory that she claims to have It s astonishing, particularly in the detail that she claims to recall and there is a lot of detail see above The weird thing is that it s quite clear that Mary Karr can write, certainly at the level of the sentence and indeed of the paragraph She constructs both beautifully and it s not hard to believe that she is a poet, which she is But she was not a poet who made me all that interested in what, in theory at least, could have been a pretty interesting story. Posted at Shelf Inflicted After reading Will s intriguing review of Lit A Memoir, I decided it was time to explore Mary Karr s work, so I went to the library and borrowed The Liars Club Written in 1995, this memoir explores the author s dysfunctional childhood in sweltering and swampy Leechfield, Texas.Though Mary Karr and I did not have similar childhoods, there were definitely certain life situations and reactions to them that I could relate to and I came to realize that no matter how different people s lives are, there are always things that will connect us I was enthralled by her writing, which is very intimate and lyrical and enabled me to empathize with her Just like my dad, Mary s dad saved receipts from nearly every bill he paid and he always voted DemocratIt was a feat Daddy never got to perform, but on nights when he spread the receipts out chronologically, he made it clear to my sister and me that every day some suit wearing, Republican sonofabitch his term weaseled a working man out of an extra three dollars for lack of a receipt He would not be caught short These notorious Republicans were the bogeymen of my childhood When I asked him to define one I think it was during the Kennedy Nixon debate , Daddy said a Republican was somebody who couldn t enjoy eating unless he knew somebody else was hungry, which I took to be gospel for longer than I care to admit Maybe the only thing worse than being a Republican was being a scabMy brother was an obedient child and always stayed still while my dad was smacking him To me, that made no sense and just made it easy for my dad If I put enough energy into evading and escaping, dad had to spend energy grabbing for my wrist or bending over to yank me out from under the bed This did not exhaust him, as I hoped it would, but only made the beating worse when he finally got a hold of meOf course, I am famous for running in the middle of a spanking It makes me proud that Daddy used to run too I always figured only a dumbass would just stand still and take itSo Mary s parents weren t so great, but I loved the details she used to bring them to life Even with all their flaws, I found it difficult to dislike them totally My parents weren t so perfect either For the most part I was able to get past that when I remind myself they are human beings with flaws, and children don t come with an instruction manual, and people just do the best they can It s not always good enough, but it s easier to understand and empathize with your flawed parents when you re not putting them up on a pedestal attributing superhuman qualities to them This is a very worthwhile story about hardship, family relationships, survival, and growing up It is absorbing, disturbing, hilarious, honest and difficult to put down I am looking forward to reading about Mary s teen years. Much praise has been written about Mary Karr s uniqe poetic voice But, honestly I found very little that was special about Mary Karr Her writing style seems jarring she has no problem jumping around in time in the middle of a paragraph I also found it difficult to be compelled with her story It was a story about growing up poor in a industrial town in Texas I bet 30 other kids from that same town could have written a very similar book Her prose was bland and it was evident that she didn t like her past self very much It s very difficult to read about a character that the author feels embarassed about, whether it is fiction or non fiction.I did enjoy a few of thetruthful sounding snippets about her parents and her childhood thoughts about death and seperation To me, however, the majority of the story fell flat.My biggest problem is that this hard childhood memoir just doesn t hold a light to The Glass Castle the memoir that got me interested in reading memoirs again.