Book Review: The Art of Memoir by Mary Karr

I love reading memoir, and have for a long time. I’ve been reading memoir since I was a child, so naturally, when I heard about The Art of Memoir by Mary Karr, I jumped on it. Ashley from Climb The Stacks recommended this, and the link goes to her video review of the book.

I want to talk first about the author. Mary Karr is a memoirist who has written three books, Liars Club, Cherry, and Lit: A Memoir, and teaches graduate courses on writing, so Karr has an extensive background on the subject. This book is peppered with rich detail of how to write memoir, using examples from her own work as well as the works of others. She outlines her rules for memoir, and discusses subjects of carnal knowledge and memory.

Karr, despite her academic background, writes in a way that is accessible to both writing and understanding memoir. I don’t know if I will ever write a memoir, but I feel like I learned so much about writing in general from her recounting her process of writing, editing, and working with her text.

I will say that because Karr uses example’s of other texts, the resulting product of this book as a whole might be triggering to readers on a variety of issues, including:

  • Sexual Assault
  • Incest
  • Abuse
  • Violence
  • Alcoholism

I assume there is is a glossary in the back of the book(I read the audiobook, so I don’t know) that sites what pages specific memoirs are referenced, but if you are triggered by certain topics, it might be good to check the glossary and skip those sections.

On a note of reading this as an audiobook, while I loved the experience of listening to Mary Karr read this book, I did feel a deep want and need to outline and highlight the book, so I may consider getting a hard copy to keep as part of my book collection.

Have you read this book? Do you like to read memoir? Let me know in comments.

Thank you so much for reading!


1 thought on “Book Review: The Art of Memoir by Mary Karr”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s