Wednesday, August 12, 2009
Pits and All: Book Review of Mary Karr’s memoir Cherry
Mary Karr is not a celebrity. Nor is she a political figure. So what is so appealing about her memoirs? I recently read Cherry because I loved her first memoir The Liar’s Club which was an assignment in one of my Rutger’s graduate English courses.
Karr’s memoirs are not for the faint of heart, those prone to being offended by life. Karr is ruthless in her willingness to be genuine. Her life is extraordinary in its ordinariness. She brings us into her inner world as an adolescent and holds nothing back from her audience. Not self-aggrandizing, nor self-deprecating, she is just plainly honest about her experiences, putting it in the language of her own mind, her own slang, which makes the audience feel like they know her on an intimate level.
That intimacy and rawness is what is so memorable about her memoirs. I was drawn in to her drama and could not get enough. If you are looking for sunshine and roses, quick platitudes, and everything tied up in a neat little package, do not read Mary Karr. But, if you want the poetry of reality and are ready to share in another person’s dark inner world during adolescence, I highly recommend this book.