Karr’s darkly comic memoir about her childhood in an east Texas oil town tells of a hard-drinking father, a sister who can talk down the sheriff at age twelve, and an oft-married mother whose accumulated secrets threaten to destroy them all.
...Mary Karr has not just made telling the truth her stock and trade. She has made it her art ... As Karr describes her childhood, near comic in its unrelenting tragedy, she sends an essential message: not only will the truth set you free, it will set a course for others to do the same ... Her truthful book is a beautiful deception: she makes it look easy to do what is hardest, and that is to tell your own story and have it be heard. Mary’s family couldn’t hide their most sacred business from their neighbors. Now Mary doesn’t want to. Neither do we ... Liars’ Club is more than an account of a tattered childhood and one brave and brilliant woman’s attempt to use it rather than deny it.
Ms. Karr inherited her father's remarkable gift for storytelling, and she has used that gift to create one of the most dazzling and moving memoirs to come along in years ... Most of The Liars' Club takes place in 1962 and '63, when Ms. Karr was 7 and 8, but the book also moves backward and forward in time, unfolding like some magical origami flower to give the reader an indelible portrait of an entire family and an entire world ... Her most powerful tool is her language, which she wields with the virtuosity of both a lyric poet and an earthy, down-home Texan ... It's a skill used in these pages in the service of a wonderfully unsentimental vision that redeems the past even as it recaptures it on paper.
This is such a captivating book, at once hilarious and heartfelt, that you don’t have to believe every word to love it. You need only prop your cowboy boots on the porch rail, open a cold long-neck and listen to the voice of a born storyteller ... The way some people are born with perfect pitch, Karr, a prize-winning poet and essayist, is blessed with a sense of humor that allows her to see whatever happens to her, good, bad or terrible, as just one more example of chaos theory at work.