Who’s had three memoirs worth of life?

You’d think that after her first two, Mary Karr wouldn’t have another book’s worth of her own story to tell. But she does.

It’s not even that the story is that different from other stories of other people: Growing out of a hard childhood, she drank too much, eventually got clean, reluctantly turned to God and slowly found some semblance of grace and reconciliation.

And yet she tells it so well, so touchingly, so earnestly.

It doesn’t feel like she pulls punches and it doesn’t feel like she’s exaggerating for effect. If I’d written that book, I’d have spent a lot more time talking about the famous people I’d been around. She banged David Foster Wallace, for crying out loud, and she would have been able to get a ton of publicity if she’d gone heavy on exploiting that relationship. But she didn’t, which is admirable.

I’m wary of the spiritual-discovery story. Wary of the whole recovery and navel-gazing thing. But Karr does it very, very well. And she’s got a lot to say. And reading her book, and the little epigraphs for each chapter, reminded me that I’ve got some writing to do as well.

So, yes. Read Mary Karr’s third memoir, “Lit,” when it comes out in November ’09. It’s that good.

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