The Liars' Club

The Liars' Club

A Memoir

Book - 2005
Average Rating:
Rate this:
"Wickedly funny and always movingly illuminating, thanks to kick-ass storytelling and a poet's ear."

The New York Times bestselling, hilarious tale of Mary Karr's hardscrabble Texas childhood that calls the best memoir of a generation.

The Liars' Club took the world by storm and raised the art of the memoir to an entirely new level, bringing about a dramatic revival of the form. Karr's comic childhood in an east Texas oil town brings us characters as darkly hilarious as any of J. D. Salinger's--a hard-drinking daddy, a sister who can talk down the sheriff at age twelve, and an oft-married mother whose accumulated secrets threaten to destroy them all. This unsentimental and profoundly moving account of an apocalyptic childhood is as "funny, lively, and un-put-downable" ( USA Today ) today as it ever was.
Publisher: New York :, Penguin Books,, [2005]
Edition: 10th anniversary edition
Copyright Date: ©1995
ISBN: 9780143035749
Branch Call Number: ANF 811.54 KAR 1995
Characteristics: xvi, 320 pages : portraits ; 20 cm


From the critics

Community Activity


Add a Comment
Mar 22, 2018

The Liars’ Club is a story full of shocking events and thought provoking moments. Mary tells the story of her turbulent childhood in great detail and compels the reader to experience the life of a young girl in 1970s Texas. Initially, I expected the memoir to be full of humor and lightheartedness, but in reality the author suffers in every aspect of life. This caused me to be more empathetic than I expected and it made it harder to read through the mundane details. I found this autobiography lacking in terms of interest and value. I often found myself falling asleep as I read or wondering why the process of making gumbo was relevant. However, this did bring thought provoking topics on religion and roles of women in society. The Liars’ Club was a dry account of a woman’s experience as a child in a unstable home.

DBRL_KrisA Dec 19, 2016

Mary Karr's childhood reminds me of my own. Which is surprising in a way; she grew up in a small oil town on the coast in Texas, while I grew up in (mostly) a small farming town in Missouri. Her daddy was a union laborer for an oil company, while mine worked in middle management in a factory. She had one sister; I'm right smack in the middle of seven kids. But it's the small town, lower middle class upbringing that brings to mind my own childhood. Playing (and fighting) with the neighborhood kids; exploring the nearby creek or woods or pasture; fighting with your siblings (but also fighting along with your siblings against the other neighborhood kids).
There are definitely some differences - my mom didn't get an inheritance, move us to Colorado, and divorce our dad in order to marry some drunk bartender. We didn't ride horses or get stung by a man-o-war or hide from a drunk, knife-wielding parent (or protect a step-father from a drunk, pistol-wielding parent). We didn't (as far as my parents know) use the kind of "colorful" language Mary and (especially) her sister Lecia used against the other neighborhood kids. But, reading this memoir, I still felt at times like I was reliving my own childhood.

Jul 05, 2016

A memoir of abuse, neglect, child endangerment, sexual abuse, alcoholism, mental illness - but somehow the author (and her sister) survived.

Adroitly written, but not for the faint of heart. This was a tough one to get through.

*Adult content

WVMLStaffPicks Dec 09, 2014

A Southern childhood with all its grittiness exposed: even though Karr's mother is an alcoholic, and her father knows how to punch his way through life, she and her sister survive because of undaunted love and courage that glue this crazy family together. Her writing is funny and every page tells of a miricle of survival.

gracindaisy Jul 02, 2012

How did I miss this back in 1995? A wickedly funny account of an apocalyptic childhood in East Texas.

Age Suitability

Add Age Suitability

There are no age suitabilities for this title yet.


Add a Summary

There are no summaries for this title yet.


Add Notices

There are no notices for this title yet.


Add a Quote

There are no quotes for this title yet.

Explore Further

Browse by Call Number


Subject Headings


Find it at VIRL

To Top