The Memoirist's Club

Mary Karr's third book is her most intimate

Mark Ovaska

The best-selling author in her Manhattan apartment.

No matter how messed up Mary Karr's childhood seemed in The Liars' Club or how tumultuous her adolescence in the follow-up, Cherry, those two best sellers stood as proof that this howlingly funny writer had not only survived but also stayed sufficiently clear-eyed to tell her tales. We loved Karr, but we didn't have to worry about her in adulthood. Or so we thought.

Lit (Harper; 386 pages), her third memoir, picks up right where Cherry left off, and it stands as a testament to the impossibility of shrugging off your own beginnings. Karr's childhood catches up with her, turning her...

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