A Memoir

Book - 2009
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The author reveals how, shortly after giving birth to a child she adored, she drank herself into the same numbness that nearly devoured her charismatic but troubled mother, reaching the brink of suicide before a spiritual awakening led her to sobriety.
Publisher: New York : Harperluxe, c2009
Edition: 1st Harperluxe ed
ISBN: 9780061885471
Branch Call Number: 811.54 KARR
Characteristics: xi, 561 p. (large print) ; 23 cm


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Jun 01, 2017

Beautifully written, but I admit I couldn't finish it. I didn't realize it was a Christian conversion story. I'm glad she recovered, but I quit reading when the story shifted to tons of prayer. Not my cup of tea.

Mar 16, 2016

I read this in about 4 days. I seriously couldn't put it down. Karr makes me want to laugh, cry, sigh, and write my own memoir. I am telling all my friends to read this book--it's that good.

FindingJane Dec 10, 2015

Alternately harrowing, sad and funny, Ms. Karr’s description of her journey from alcoholism to sobriety and a fresh start on her life is a scintillating memoir. Her use of language is startling, original and an absolute delight to read. She has a way with metaphor and simile that shows her as the mature writer she has become. At times, you wonder why she was so self-deprecating about her own work.

But, like a lot of famous artists, her drinking both informed her writing and threatened to derail her life. Her details about the steps she took—therapy, pills, self-help groups, charity work, religion and divorce (which her husband seemed to find more shameful than her drinking)—are intricate, revealing the gradual pathways she took to pull herself from the mire.

However, as a confirmed agnostic, I found the pressure from people around her to pray or seek God for guidance or aid to be unnerving and irritating. (No doubt her friends would state this is more a reflection of my mindset than about God.) The harassment to pray was gentle but nonetheless constant, a wearing down of her resistance, at a time when she had little inner strength to fight it. The passages about how she was apt to drop to her knees in unlikely places made me cringe and reiterated my private notions about how prayer and religion are often the last bastion of the impoverished, needy or desperate.

Still, you are moved by her devotion, her undoubted intelligence and the inner fortitude she gains through prayer and the search for meaning in her life. What ultimately earns this book its high stars are her reconnection with family, her wish to make amends or get in touch with her distant father, her enraged, crazed mother and her reliable but seemingly cool-tempered sister.

Prayer aside, this is a gripping record of one woman’s journey through fire and coming out the other side triumphant.

PrimaGigi Oct 09, 2011

It's an enjoyable read.

Algonquin_Lisa Feb 24, 2011

A never self-pitying memoir of a writer's battle with alcoholism. Beautifully written.

Dec 27, 2010

compelling and moving memoir by Mary Karr. Chronicles her battle with alcoholism, dysfunctional family and her embracing of religion. She bears her soul and reveals her worst moments and yet ends on a hopeful note. highly recommended.

Nov 25, 2010

An excellent book on alcoholism, recovery, and becoming a writer.


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