April 2018

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

I take it back

Sunday, I wrote about Mary Karr's memoir, The Liar's Club, the engaging story of growing up tough with a "Nervous" mom.  

I listed Karr's memoir among my top nine, but today I'd like to take that ranking back. Now that I  have read more, I no longer list it in my top nine. I know it's a memoir classic, and I should love it, but I just don't.

Much about the memoir is excellent. Karr writes beautifully and compassionately about a difficult childhood with a mother who burns all of the family's possessions in a bon fire and shows up at her children's door with a butcher knife that she believes she has used to kill them.

I admire Karr's style, her ability to witness herself as a child, her honesty about difficult love, and her pain.

The story is just so hard. In its unabating pain, the story reminds me of the film Boys Don't Cry, a film where even the few moments of potential joy are so filled with danger that I cannot breathe.

I want the memoir I'm writing to be honest about hard times but essentially joyful. I wonder if I can write as convincingly about joy as she does about pain. 

That's my goal: sharing an experience of joy that's deeper than the pain.

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