LIT’s a Hit

Mary Karr’s new memoir Lit is a hit with critics, ranging from the New York Times’ notoriously hard-to-please Michiko Kakutani to Entertainment Weekly, which gave it an undiluted A. It’s currently at #76 on Amazon, after a week in the top 100, and rising. Library holds are growing.

Not only iss Karr getting high critical praise, but reviewers also express the sheer pleasure they found in reading the book.

The often churlish Michiko Kakutani, perhaps inspired by Karr’s Texas roots, says that the book “lassos you, hogties your emotions and won’t let you go.”

Melanie Gideon in the S.F. Chronicle says,

Mary Karr owes me. Because of  Lit, her new memoir, my week was a disaster. Laundry piled up, the dishes went unwashed, my son went without his flu shot, and our puppy peed on the couch – all because I spent every spare moment with my nose buried in Lit, a harrowing account of Karr’s descent into alcoholism and her eventual conversion to Catholicism.

Valerie Sayers in the Washington Post begins by describing herself as a “memoirphobe,” who dreads

…the depiction of yet another horrific (if colorful) childhood, drug-addled adolescence, young adult breakdown and especially — most especially — blissful spiritual recovery. It’s not that the lives revealed in so many memoirs are unworthy of examination; it’s not even that they’re necessarily Too Much Information, that bane of our hyper-therapized culture. It is, rather, that the pronoun “I” can function as a semiautomatic weapon in the hands of a memoirist: Whoever has possession controls the conversation.

Nonetheless, she says, “Karr’s sharp and funny sensibility won me over to her previous two volumes, but what wins me over to Lit is…her acute self-awareness.”

Samantha Dunn in the Los Angeles Times says,

Karr could tell you what’s on her grocery list, and its humor would make you bust a gut, its unexpected insights would make you think and her pitch-perfect command of our American vernacular might even take your breath away.

In the introduction to his interview with Karr in the Huffington Post, former publisher Steve Ross noted that PW, which caught flak for not including a single woman in its Top Ten Best Books of 2009, made an even more egregious oversight by not including Lit.

Unfortunately, it goes beyond that; not only is Lit not in the PW Top Ten, it’s not in their Top 100, nor is it on Amazon’s Top 100. It’s also not a National Book Award finalist.

You can read an excerpt here:

Lit: A Memoir
Mary Karr
Retail Price: $25.99
Hardcover: 400 pages
Publisher: Harper – (2009-11-01)
ISBN / EAN: 0060596988 / 9780060596989

HarperAudio, UNAB, 9780061939006

HarperLuxe,9780061885471, pbk, $25.99

Audio and eBook downloadable from OverDrive.

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