Monday, April 28, 2014

Cherry by Mary Karr

An East Texas girl comes of age

Mary Marlene Karr, a young teenage eccentric in a town of redneck oil workers, experiences a Sixties adolescence, narrowly escaping serious injury or addiction.  Mary can’t figure out how to conform to her social group, or to high school rules, then finally to the expectations of the police. Her teenage years confirm her belief that she is a misfit. Despite that feeling, she also knows she is completely loved and made to feel superior by her nonconforming completely egocentric parents.

This book lacks the powerful structure of The Liar's Club, a story of survival, but retains the amazing sentences. In this installment, her larger than life parents are more in the background, no longer twin pillars holding up the plot.  Even though this structure is more baggy, the writing is still deeply pleasurable, especially the down home dialogue contrasted with the genuine psychological insight into the town characters. Beautiful prose combined with druggy interludes. Large chunks of this book are in the second person, especially the more emotional passages, like her teenage depression. But overall the book is told in a hilarious deadpan style.

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