By Mary Karr
Viking Adult, Hardcover, 9780670892747, 320pp.
Publication Date: September 25, 2000
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In her 1995 memoir The Liars' Club, a wickedly funny account of her apocalyptic childhood in East Texas, Mary Karr introduced us to her brawling, loving family: a bohemian mother married seven times, twice to her father; her wicked, wheelchair-bound grandmother, and her 'senatorial' sister Lecia, an authoritative ten-year old who, with Mary, tried to keep this explosive family together. The book struck a nerve when it was published, went on to win numerous awards, and became a huge bestseller in both hardcover and paperback. "Cherry", Mary's highly-anticipated follow-up memoir, covers her life up to the age of seventeen: through deep and abiding friendships, through early and touchingly hilarious experiments with sex, through the process of self-creation a young girl goes through when there's nobody around to show her the way. The book is divided into three parts: "Elementary's End", about the summer when Mary was between the fifth and sixth grade; "Midway", about her junior high school years, and "High", about her tumultuous high school years in the early 1970s. Mary's focus in this book is on her sexual coming of age, particularly the feelings of schism and disillusionment, the ardent suffering and inertia that teenage girls experience when they first encounter romantic love and sex.