** The Art of Memoir by Mary Karr

I just love Mary Karr’s memoirs (reviewed here, here, and here), so I was looking forward to this book, which, if I had read the description more carefully, I would have known was not a memoir, or at least not just a memoir, but a compendium of how to write a memoir, based on her experience as a professor. I confess that the best parts of this book for me were, no surprise, the memoir fragments: who can forget the image of her breaking her delete key by overusing it while writing her last memoir? Her suggestions to would-be memoirists are fine, I suppose (I’m not in the market to write a memoir so not a good judge) but they sometimes read as dry, common-sense lists. And her literary analysis of various memoirs written by others are often hard to follow without having actually read the pieces. If you are a fan of Mary Karr’s read this, of course. If not, read her memoirs!

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