After reading Mary Karr’s “Liars’ Club” and “Cherry,” the first and second memoirs in the trilogy, I didn’t think it could get any better. I figured, “Lit,” the final memoir, would be just as awe inspiring and breathtaking as the previous two, but my God, was I wrong. “Lit,” was even better and if one puts all three together you have what I call an amazing collection and if I was an English Professor teaching about the art of the ‘memoir’ this is the collection I would have my class read.
“Lit,” explores the underbelly of alcoholism, the struggle to recover, and eventually the spiritual enlightenment of living with the disease but not falling prey to its lingering demons and temptations.
Ms. Karr, a distinguished poet, who uses poetry throughout the memoirs, reaches the highest levels of honesty which is a hallmark of all great poets from Dante, Byron, Keats, Poe, Elliot, and Yeats.
The great editor, Maxwell Perkins, thought that poetry, was the apex, the summit, of all the writing forms; and considering that Mr. Perkins, “The Editor of Genius,” was Hemingway, Fitzgerald, and Wolfe’s editor is saying a lot.
Ms. Karr’s story is horrid, but in the end with the guidance of her son, sister, counselors, priests, nuns, the ghost of her father, and friends she does reach what Dante called “Paradiso.” The final book in his great trilogy, “The Divine Comedy.” She might not reach the highest sphere, but with the help of her guides (Beatrice in “Paradiso”) she comes, to a certain extent, very close to the inner enlightenment and glory of God…to the concept of a Higher Being.