The Liar's Club

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“The Liars’ Club” by Mary Karr is a memoir that reflects on the dysfunctional childhood she lived. Two major factors for her dysfunctional childhood were her mother and father. Her father was a heavy drinker and worked a lot. Her mother suffered from mental instability and became an alcoholic. Both did not create an ideal environment at home to raise their children in and were not always motherly or fatherly. However, despite the terrible upbringing and poor parenting, Karr provides evidence that shows readers her parents nurtured and loved them.

Throughout the memoir, the father displayed bad examples of parenthood. Karr states, “Following Daddy’s advice for any sort of conflict, I was likely to yell at any of the neighbor ladies to kiss my rosy red ass…” (Karr 40) Karr acknowledges that her father advised her to use profanity if a problem occurred with her neighbors. This is a bad example of parental guidance because her father encouraged her to use an immoral and immature action to solve a conflict. This is alarming because children should be raised with some moral guidance, especially when it involves other adults. Parents should encourage their children to solve their problems via communication or seeking the help from an adult.

Although her father demonstrated poor parental skills, Karr’s mother also showed a tremendous lack of parental guidance. She described the night her mother decided to burn her belongings along with other items because Lecia and she “hadn’t cleaned their room.” (Karr 171) Karr states, “She picks up toys one at a time off the closet floor…I zero in on my old red wooden rocking horse…Mother is pouring gas out of the red can onto him…She tosses the match toward the horse…She’s burning her own paintings too…” (Karr 149-151) Her mother’s actions are so insane that Karr even describes her as “a bona fide maniac.” (Karr 152) Basically, Karr acknowledges that her mother was crazy. This action traumatized Karr and her sister because her...
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