Author: Mary Carr

Published by: Viking (2000)

Mary Carr’s memoir about adolescence and her teenage years completely enrapture the reader.  The story is at times compelling, harrowing, and also entertaining.

There’s something innocent and intelligent about her prose that inspired me during my writing and had me dig into my own experiences.  Specifically her kiss with her crush:

“John’s tongue is not hard and pointy like Davie Ray’s or plumb absent like Bobbie’s.  It parts my lips a little as if testing the warmth of water.  And after a second I get the idea that my tongue’s supposed to do something other than lay there or draw back hiding.  I ease it forward so as not to poke at him the way Davie Ray Hawks did me.  I taste the coppery flesh of his soft tongue on my wet one.  My breathing seizes up again.  And I put my hands up and press them flat against his chest because half of me is afraid I’ll fall entirely into him if he keeps holding me.”

What I particularly culled from this passage was her ability to capture those first moments of liking a boy, the sensations of a first kiss and everything in between.

Although this passage was my favorite (I have many throughout), the last third of the novel delves into her acid trips with random boys which at some point mesh into one another.  At this point of the novel, I found it hard to follow her through her drug induced foray (perhaps the point?).  This reminded me too much of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (the movie) in which I couldn’t follow, not even as a voyeur.

Would I suggest this novel?  Yes.  I enjoyed her writing very much and I look forward to reading more of her work.


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