Cherry

Mary Karr, Author
Mary Karr, Author Viking Books $24.95 (276p) ISBN 978-0-670-89274-7
Reviewed on: 09/04/2000
Release date: 09/01/2000
Paperback - 276 pages - 978-0-14-100207-1
Analog Audio Cassette - 978-0-375-41645-3
Compact Disc - 978-0-375-41646-0
Hardcover - 978-0-7862-3230-7
Hardcover - 483 pages - 978-0-7862-3231-4
Paperback - 288 pages - 978-0-330-48576-0
Open Ebook - 288 pages - 978-1-101-65074-5
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Readers seduced by Karr's canny memoir of a childhood spent under the spell of a volatile, defiantly loving family in the Liar's Club can look forward to more exquisite writing in this sequel focusing on her adolescence in a dusty Texas town. Karr struggles as the talented child of a sullen, dismissive father and an ethereal, unstable mother who studies art and disappears from time to time, functioning more as an ally than as a mother to young Mary, who she encourages to be sexually active. When Mary is locked up in a drug raid, her mother rescues her by charming the judge, an old admirer. Writing in the second person, Karr recounts with disarming immediacy her tenuous childhood friendships, her rocky move into adolescence and sexual experimentation (she describes teenage kisses as ""delicate as origami in their folds and bendings""); her troubles with school authority and her early escape into books and language. In one funny and poignant episode, Mary despairs over her dysfunctional family life in a dull town and, influence by the literature she is reading, makes a half-hearted attempt at suicide, before she resolves to live ""as long as there are plums to eat and somebody - anybody who gives enough of a damn to haul them for you."" Moving effortlessly from breathtaking to heart stabbing to laugh out loud raucous, the precision and sheer beauty of Karr's writing remains astounding. (Oct.)
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