Sunday, January 10, 2010

Memoirs


I have finished reading two memoirs recently: Lit by Mary Karr and Lucky by Alice Sebold.


I read Mary Karr's The Liar's Club a couple of years ago and really did enjoy her perspective on her childhood years growing up in a dysfunctional family. (Have we all seen the cartoon of about five people in a huge conference room, attending what a banner across the back wall proclaims to be the annual meeting of The Children of Functional Families?) Anyway, I thought I wouldn't mind having a cup of coffee with her and discussing childhood memories and life in general. Then I read Cherry, about her rebellious teen years, and now Lit, about her adult life struggles with alcohol and her religious conversion, and I got over any fascination with Mary Karr as a person. She's a good writer, but true stories about trading one addiction for another have begun to bore me in my old age.
Lucky is an older book that I never got around to reading before. It is Alice Sebold's memoir of her brutal rape as a college freshman, the conviction of the rapist, and the long term effects all this had on her life. It was a pretty rough read, but worth it for the reminder of the intersecting cultures of women, police officers, the judicial system, and victims of violence. It sparked some good discussion even though some it was the boring bits about addiction.


I kept feeling the need for society to be more sensitive to rape victims--on a personal level wondering how much I may have offended survivors of trauma I've dealt with in my life--and maybe that was part of her motivation in writing this book to get that conversation going. I was disappointed and dismayed in the end, though. Sebold's response to her friend who was raped was just plain thoughtlessly hurtful. So much for sensitivity to the pain of others. I guess we just have to do the best we can do.

2 comments:

  1. I recently read Alice Sebold's "Almost Moon" and that totally turned me off to her. Her main character had no compassion and was a horribly cold person.
    Sometimes I feel the constant assult of the media has made many immune to the suffering of others. There is just so much pain thrust at us daily.
    Hope I never reach that stage when I can't feel compassion.

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  2. Okay, that's off my list. Life is too short for feel bad books to take up any more of my time.

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