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The Liars’ Club by Mary Karr June 2, 2006

Posted by pvccbookclub in Current Discussion.

Mary Karr's childhood was anything but quiet. She grew up in an oil refinery town in East Texas with a hard-drinking-but-kind father, an unbalanced, artistic mother, and a tough-as-nails sister. Karr eventually became a poet, and her chaotic childhood certainly gave her lots of ripe material about which to write. This is a side-splitting, gut-wrenching read and will leave you wondering what has happened to Karr since this memoir was published in 1995.

Questions to consider for discussion:

1) Did you empathize more with Mary's mother or father? Did your feelings change by the end of the book? If so, why?

 2) How do you think Mary was perceived by her friends and family members? What words would they use to describe her? Do you think she sees herself accurately?

3) Mary Karr's mother was a frustrated artist, and yet Mary herself managed to overcome the obstacles of a horrific home life to realize her dream of being a successful writer. Why do you think she was able to succeed where her mother was not?

4) Do you identify at all with the Karr family? Is there any aspect of their lives that has universal appeal?



1. Deidre - June 2, 2006

I listened to this originally on audiocassette and loved it. My memory has faded, so I’ll have to go back and read it again. I was reminded of it when I read the Glass Castle by Jeanette Walls. That’s a wonderful book, too.

2. Deidre - June 2, 2006

I meant to double-check the spelling! It’s Jeannette Walls (two n’s).

3. Dixie - June 10, 2006

I have read lesss that 1/2 the book so far, but I really love it! Mary Karr barfing into her t-shirt while the family is driving away from the hurricaane and Mom crashs into the bridge while tryinging to back slap the kid in the back seat. Yeah! I can relate to that. My road trip from hell was in the UP-Upper Penisula Michigan. 3 kids and a new husband. We played musical car seats and the arguments continued. The kids were really amused with the car voice that kept saying, “the door is a jar.” Somewhre my own memoirs are waiting to blossom. But Mary Karr is much deeper than all this. Her quotes from Milton and Faulkner gives us all time to think about much deeper things in life. I love the way she mixes it up with the mundane and the trivial.

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