I finished Lit (again) last night and have come to the same conclusion I did the first go-round: it's so well written, beautiful in parts, but it's also choppy and exhausting. What I guiltily enjoy most about Karr's writing is her long passages about her mother (moreso in The Liar's Club and Cherry). This is when she is most outrageous and hilarious, but also poignant. In Lit, Charley sobers up and cooks briskets and while she's still saucy and inappropriate, she's more mature (at age 80). In short, it's a let down. I felt the same way after hungrily reading all of Ruth Reichl's memoirs. Reichl's mother, like Charley, tends toward the insane and inappropriate, but in her latest memoir, Not Becoming My Mother, Reichl makes peace with her mom's bi-polarism. It's not the raucous ride of botulism we find in her first memoir, Tender At The Bone and while I'm happy for Reichl, it's just not as much fun.
Does that make me a voyeur of the reality show mentality? Or borrowing a headline from NPR (about Olympic figure skater Joannie Rochette): is this the "fine line between empathy and voyeurism"? http://www.npr.org/blogs/monkeysee/2010/02/joannie_rochette_the_fine_line.html
Truth is, healthy relationships rarely make interesting literature, but whack-ass, drunken, sociopathic families are hi-lar-ious.