I recently read Mary Karr’s The Art of Memoir and thought it was very good. I’d never read her or her memoirs before, so it was interesting dive into a writer who, being from Texas, which is not the South, but is not not the South either, and given how many Southern Lit classes I took in college, should have come up. Also, I used to live near Syracuse, so again…I am also interested in her other memoirs and will probably read The Liar’s Club in the fall when I am teaching memoir with my students, and I will be putting off Lit, because I want to read Infinite Jest this summer before I have to give up DFW forever.
This book is referenced in the Art of Memoir in the sense that she wrote it with a fair amount of cheek. It’s about the adolescence and sexual awakening and mishaps of teenage Mary and her family and friends. In the ways that books about boys tend to be a little boring because it’s such overworn material, this book is insane and awful and wonderful and hilarious at times because the private versus public narratives about teenage girl hides how truly unhinged those experiences can be. Mary Karr did not have the worst (and definitely not the best) adolescence, and I don’t think it’s the most typical either, but she writes about it with such precision and skill and amazing love and pain. Also, that she read this audiobook herself added so much to the experience.