Oh my gosh, you guys! I just finished reading Mary Karr’s The Art of Memoir and now I have to go and read all of Mary Karr’s work because I loved this book. You can tell from reading it that Mary Karr knows what she’s talking about. At the same time, she makes sure to admit that every writer’s process is going to be different, especially since every memoir is going to be different.
That’s not to say that reading this book didn’t give me a few good panics about the prospect of setting out and actually doing this whole MFA program thing that I’m starting on Monday. Karr explores issues of veracity and, more terrifyingly, of dealing with the still-alive people you’re writing about when it comes to publishing secrets about them. It’s enough to make any socially anxious aspiring memoirist sweat to imagine sharing certain scenes with certain people, like “Is the way I depicted this private moment for public consumption okay with you? Cool.”
That being said, this book is chock full of great advice for writers who plan on attempting the thing. Mary Karr’s voice absolutely sparkles throughout, making it such a pleasant read that I completely forgot I was reading required craft-related stuff for class. It inspired me to try new ways of looking at my material, and I even wrote a few pages just from sheer inspiration. I don’t know if every bit of advice is something I’ll personally apply down the road, but I really enjoyed hearing about memoir from one of the best in the business. Plus, there’s a great reading list at the back.
That’s honestly all I have to say about this book. To make up for how short this post is, here is a picture of my cat trying to make me pay attention to him instead of this book: