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Lit Audiobook

Lit: A Memoir

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Audible Editor Reviews

Mary Karr’s courageous, enthralling memoir Lit chronicles in unsparing detail her struggle to accept her addiction to alcohol and her truly inspiring resurrection. But like her other best-selling memoir, The Liar’s Club, Karr expertly avoids treading into maudlin, movie-of-the-week territory. That’s because of her keen eye for detail, sharp wit, and expertly-written sentences - all of which sparkle like diamonds in Karr’s no-nonsense performance of her own carefully-chosen words.

Hearing an author read her work always adds a special thrill to the book, especially in this case. Karr is not just writing about a crucial time in her life, a time when she found her voice as a writer, got married, started a family, and everything seemed to be going her way…until her life unraveled. In Lit, Karr confides her inner-most thoughts and fears about actions and events most people would probably never confess to their parish priest. That might explain why her voice sometimes sounds annoyed or irritated. It’s like she can’t believe she actually did the things she did, looking back now as someone sober and stable.

Credit Karr for also dispelling the myth perpetuated by many mainstream movies (sorry, Crazy Heart) that most addicts magically achieve sobriety and never look back. Karr recounts with rigorous honesty one relapse after another and her serious suicidal thoughts after being sober for months and winning a prestigious literary prize. It sounds illogical, but, as Karr explains, “If you live in the dark a long time and the sun comes out, you do not cross into it whistling.” Reading lines like this, Karr reveals a sweet, tender side, often concealed beneath her brassy, Texas twang.

But no matter the tone, Karr’s pitch-perfect choice of words and her sharpshooter’s eye for detail will dazzle anyone who appreciates the fine art of outstanding writing. Karr’s sure-handed voice — both literally and figuratively — enables Lit to transcend the factual boundaries of confessional memoirs and enter the pantheon of first-class literature. Thank you, Mary Karr, for having the courage and the craft to share with us your truly inspiring story, one spectacular sentence at a time. —Ken Ross

Publisher's Summary

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.

©2009 Mary Karr; (P)2010 HarperCollins Publishers

What the Critics Say

"Astonishing....One of the most dazzling and moving memoirs to come along in years." (Michiko Kakutani, New York Times)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.1 (560 )
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4.4 (347 )
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Performance
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  •  
    criticalbuyer criticalbuyer 07-22-10
    criticalbuyer criticalbuyer 07-22-10 Listener Since 2010
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Well written but self indulgent."

    This well written book is annoyingly narrated by the author. Her "tough girl" voice is irritating, particularly in the beginning. It sounds as if the publisher walked into a biker bar and picked one of the patrons to read this book.

    That being said, the author is a skilled storyteller and a master at metaphor. However, the book is little more than a well written, self indulgent diary of what she seems to feel are her justified failures after a childhood she, more than anyone else, feels was the worst ever. Though I thought the book was well written, I was not terribly absorbed in the story. One could hear the same thing by attending a few AA meetings.

    7 of 10 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sara Kerley Daniel Island, SC 05-09-17
    Sara Kerley Daniel Island, SC 05-09-17 Member Since 2014

    N8turekid

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    "I'd like to grab some coffee with Mary Karr and Jesus"

    I so enjoyed this memoir, and Ms. Kate's narration made it particularly powerful. The message of struggle and redemption rings genuine and true.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    amy 04-12-17
    amy 04-12-17 Member Since 2015
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    3
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    "Wonderful"

    What a wonderful story. I looked forward to hearing Mary's voice tell me the story of her life. Her slight drawl is unmistakable and added to her story. It made me feel like I have a new friend named Mary. Looking forward to another audiobook by her soon!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kent 03-06-17
    Kent 03-06-17 Member Since 2015
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Not moved by this..."
    What would have made Lit better?

    I wanted to like this book, but found it difficult. I was not moved by what I thought should have been a moving memoir. I am very sympathetic to people's struggles with alcohol, as I am a recovering alcoholic myself. I thought Mary's story, as she told it, lacked feeling, and almost found it slightly contrived at times. I'm not a writer so I can't say exactly what went wrong here, but the fact that I would try is the problem. This reads like someone who has tried to master the art of memoir writing, rather than a real heartfelt and unique account of one's life. The attempts at humor seemed tailored for the Hollywood movie script, rather than part of an authentic story. I did not so much as chuckle. Nor did I connect with this author at all, in fact, I don't think I like her. She reads the story herself- I would think this would add to the story, but her reading and voice detract from it further- there is a sarcastic undertone I don't get. There was not a scrap of warmth in this- none.


    What do you think your next listen will be?

    Not sure-


    Would you be willing to try another one of Mary Karr’s performances?

    No.


    What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

    Annoyance at times.


    Any additional comments?

    I don't understand the rave reviews. This book lacks emotion.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ryan White 06-10-16
    Ryan White 06-10-16
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    6
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    "Hard to follow"
    Would you try another book from Mary Karr and/or Mary Karr?

    No


    Any additional comments?

    I admit, i couldn't get past chapter 6, but I tried VERY hard. She lost me after 2 and I hung in there as much as I could. Her use of metaphors and descriptive imagery is nice at first, but it becomes the book itself. I felt myself having to work really hard just to follow the ACTUAL story and not go to far down one of her tangents. I'm sure this style is for other people, it just wasn't for me.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mary-Ellen 05-26-16
    Mary-Ellen 05-26-16 Member Since 2014
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    "Hard life but a great story."

    I had read both the Liar's Club and Cherry. Then I read the Art of Memoir. Came back to read this book. Very glad I did. Wanted to shake her at times for her decisions, but it all came together.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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    Ulrika 04-27-16
    Ulrika 04-27-16 Member Since 2016
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    "Incredible"

    I kept on shuddering as she described things in metaphors both obvious and without pretension, at the same time so perfect they seemed magical. She illustrates what it's like to surface from skepticism... A wobbly journey filled with every emotion, tampered from too much sweetness or platitudes with her extraordinary anger which is amusing and keeps things sharp. When earnest affection arose, it was surprising and and so true it made my knees weak.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Karen Herceg Highland Mills, New York 02-04-16
    Karen Herceg Highland Mills, New York 02-04-16 Member Since 2014
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    "Raw and real"

    A transformative yet earthy and accessible memoir of heartfelt and honest expression. Not only enjoyable but penetrating. An excellent book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Karen W. Lam Vancouver, BC Canada 01-29-16
    Karen W. Lam Vancouver, BC Canada 01-29-16 Member Since 2014

    Vancouver-based filmmaker. Crazy cat lady who falls down a lot of rabbit holes.

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    "Unexpectedly Poignant"

    A mesmerizing, harrowing, maddening but ultimately satisfying memoir. Beautifully written, I love Mary Karr's writing, and how honest her story, no matter how ugly or unflattering. I would definitely recommend it, especially for anyone who is (or is dealing with a loved one) with substance issues. Her spiritual journey left me in tears. The performance is a little uneven, but I love hearing the voice of the author herself, and the slight glitches in reading made the experience feel more like an authentic bookstore reading, rather than the glossiness of a pro voice actor.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Elizabeth 09-12-15
    Elizabeth 09-12-15
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    "Excellent Book!!"

    Excellent book!!! Listening to Mary Karr read her story was awesome! I listened to it twice, back to back.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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