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Lit follows Mary Karr's descent into the inferno of alcoholism and madness—and her astonishing resurrection.

Karr's longing for a solid family seems secure when her marriage to a handsome, Shakespeare-quoting poet produces a son they adore. But she can't outrun her apocalyptic past. She drinks herself into the same numbness that nearly devoured her charismatic but troubled mother, reaching the brink of suicide. A hair-raising stint in "The Mental Marriott" awakens her to the possibility of joy, and leads her to an unlikely faith. Lit is about getting drunk and getting sober; becoming a mother by letting go of a mother; learning to write by learning to live. It is a truly electrifying story of how to grow up—as only Mary Karr can tell it.

Edition Language:English
Format Type:Hardcover
Number of Pages:400 pages

    Lit Reviews

  • Will Byrnes
    Nov 13, 2009

    Like Ron Rash and Thomas Hardy, Mary Karr writes dense, image-rich language with a poet’s flair. This is not stuff you speed-read past. Slow down, take a sip from whatever you’re drinking. Maybe r...

  • Mike
    Apr 23, 2011

    On its funniest and its most harrowing pages, Mary Karr's Lit reminds me of Augusten Burroughs's Dry; both sarcastic, heartbroken protagonists are helplessly addicted to alcohol, romantically incapaci...

  • Jen Knox
    Oct 07, 2009

    Karr's hard-edged poetic voice made The Liars' Club one of my favorite books. In Lit, the voice is just as searing and lovely but perhaps not as consistent. The childhood digressions--nods to her prev...

  • mark
    Dec 08, 2012

    Who is Mary Karr? A memoirist—this is her third. She is now 57 years old. She is a professor of literature at Syracuse University. She is a published poet. She is a single mother. She is famous—gi...

  • Julie Davis
    Nov 23, 2011

    Note - I read this for a book club. Not my choice. I do like memoirs, just not this sort.Mary Karr/Lit fans are a fiercely loyal group. And super intolerant of anyone who doesn't love her sort of memo...

  • Christin
    Dec 12, 2009

    Few writers can live up to the verve of a triple pun title: lit as in literature, lit as in intoxicated, and lit as in spiritual enlightenment, all three of which are seamlessly blended together in Ka...

  • jo
    Jan 10, 2010

    it's entirely impossible to give this book less than five stars because it's an obvious masterpiece of narrative, heart, and language. unlike other memoirists who put it all out there, though, mary ka...

  • Tiffany Reisz
    Sep 02, 2016

    Thought I was reading a writer-recovering-from-alcoholism memoir and read instead a writer-discovers-Catholicism-and-God spiritual journey. Fantastic book. I can't recommend it enough....

  • Ruth
    Jul 22, 2011

    Okay - I know this author has won awards and I am supposed to have thought this book was wonderful, but I didn't. I swear I could hear her thumbing through the thesaurus to find words we do not use in...

  • Sara
    Jul 12, 2011

    The experience of reading this book is one of being swept so effectively into someone else's experience that I have to give it a five. Pick it up, lie down on the couch, and if you've ever been an asp...

About Mary Karr

Mary Karr

Mary Karr is an American poet, essayist and memoirist. She rose to fame in 1995 with the publication of her bestselling memoir The Liars' Club. She is the Peck Professor of English Literature at Syracuse University.The Liars' Club, published in 1995, was a New York Times bestseller for over a year, and was named one of the year's best books. It delves vividly and often humorously into her deeply t