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Extended Audio Sample Lit: A Memoir, by Mary Karr Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (9,539 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Mary Karr Narrator: Mary Karr Publisher: HarperCollins Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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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.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Searing…A book that lassos you, hogties your emotions, and won’t let you go. It’s a memoir that traces the author’s descent into alcoholism and her conflicted, piecemeal return from that numb hell—a memoir that explores the subjectivity of memory even as it chronicles with searching intelligence, humor and grace the author’s slow, sometimes exhilarating, sometimes painful discovery of her vocation and her voice as a poet and writer…Every bit as absorbing as Ms. Karr’s devastating 1995 memoir, The Liars’ Club, which secured her place on the literary map.”

    New York Times

  • “Affecting…Karr’s lurch toward faith is narrated with familiar irreverence and humor, but this tone does not preclude a more heartfelt expression of the value of faith.”

    New Yorker 

  • “If the first two volumes of her memoirs strutted, this one proceeds more modestly: Karr is full of regret, but she’s also as funny as ever on the subject of her own sinning…The language often captures, precisely, the tension between the intellectual and the emotional, the artistic and the spiritual. This is a story not just of alcoholism but of coming to terms with families past and present, with a needy self, with a spiritual longing Karr didn’t even know she possessed. It sounds as if she was hellish to be around for much of the time she describes here, but she is certainly good company now.”

    Washington Post

  • “Karr bares her soul in this sharp, unflinching look back at her troubled life. In prickly, self-deprecating prose teetering on the edge of poetry, Karr traces her plunge into alcoholism, depression, the inevitable disintegration that confined her to a mental hospital, and her hard-won recovery. Karr narrates with just the right smart-alecky insouciance, smug at times, wildly out of control at others. Her slight Texas twang, tinged with dark humor and honest appraisal, turns melodramatic moments matter-of-fact. When the drunk Karr rationalizes her drinking, her intelligent reading makes her self-justifications reasonable…Karr’s truthful performance and riveting story will keep listeners glued to their headphones.”


  • A New York Times Bestseller
  • Winner of the AudioFile Earphones Award
  • A 2009 New York Times Book Review Top 10 Book of the Year
  • A 2009 Time Magazine Top 10 Book for Nonfiction
  • A Los Angeles Times Bestseller
  • Selected for the November 2009 Indie Next List
  • A 2009 National Book Critics Circle Award Finalist
  • AudioFile Magazine Earphones Award

Listener Opinions

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by Jessica Jackson | 2/16/2014

    " AAAAHHHH! Mary effing Karr, you are a literary genius, and you make me feel more human. This book is incredible, amazing, and every other annoying superlative adjective you can think of. Raw? Check. Heartbreaking? Check. Well-written? Check, check, check. You won't be disappointed. You won't be able to put it down. You won't leave your bed for hours. You're welcome. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by Jenny | 2/15/2014

    " If I could I'd give this book 3.5 stars... was a great memoir for getting a kind of insider's understanding of addiction, and was a page turner. However, I often found her writing a bit egotistical and found myself wondering if she at times was a little too nice to herself about some of her not so nice moments. I do recommend it though. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by Charissa Albertson | 2/13/2014

    " I loved how Mary used so much detail. The book flowed like a fiction book and wasn't boringly factual like some other memoirs I have read. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Lynne | 2/7/2014

    " Mary can sure turn a phrase. Just wish, for her sake, her life hadn't been so damn awful. Up to now, that is. "

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