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August 12, 2013

65 Book Challenge: Memoir Week With "Lit" and "I'm With the Band"

groupie For me, this week of my 65 Book Challenge was all about memoirs. I tackled two completely different works: Lit: A Memoir by Mary Karr and I’m With the Band: Confessions of a Groupie by Pamela Des Barres. These are drastically dissimilar in a variety of ways and as a result I had very opposing reactions – reactions which are probably evident in my ratings on my Goodreads account.  But I’ll go through these books one at a time and give you the down low on each one (don’t I always?) so you can determine for yourself whether or not you want to peruse either one of them. Lit: A Memoir is Mary Karr’s story of her battle against alcoholism. Growing up, Mary watches her parents become consumed by their addictions to alcohol; as a result, she develops an unhealthy relationship with it and as the years progress she relies on alcohol more and more to help her get through each day. In Lit: A Memoir, Mary Karr writes her own story in a candid and honest manner: she doesn’t spare herself in the least, in fact, at times she is harder on herself than is perhaps absolutely necessary. At the same time, she wields her rhetoric with some very well placed humor in order, I suppose, to prevent the story from becoming too dark. All in all, it’s a wonderful story of redemption – a message that I can embrace. I will say this, the story is fast paced at the start but seems to drag towards the end as it becomes more bogged down with the religious messages Karr unfolds in her latter chapters. Overall, I would recommend this book if you are looking for some inspiration or you are a hopeful writer. Mary Karr offers a lot on both topics in Lit: A Memoir. I’m With the Band: Confessions of a Groupie by Pamela Des Barres fell much lower on my ‘like’ list than Lit. It’s possible that having just come off the rather serious topics of Lit: A Memoir, it was therefore much more difficult for me to appreciate the shallow nature of Des Barres rock n’ roll themed book. What I did like about I’m With the Band: Confessions of a Groupie was its seeming accuracy in portraying the wild times that were the 60s and 70s. I am definitely a fan of rock n’ roll, so it was fascinating to read about some of my favorite groups and get behind the scene looks at them living hard and playing hard. However, after a while Pamela Des Barres memoir, I’m With the Band: Confessions of Groupie, began to come off simply as a list of sexual encounters with famous people – which is perhaps fitting as, at the beginning of the book, Des Barres actually makes a list of rock stars she wants to sleep with. The shock value of how she goes about planning her encounters with rocks stars as well as the big names Pamela Des Barres casually drops here and there, makes I’m With the Band: Confessions of a Groupie an interesting read. So that’s it for memoir week! I have to admit I’m a little bit worn out with my 65 Book Challenge but I will power through and continue with my next read He’s Just Not That Into You by Greg Behrendt and Liz Tuccillo. Read on with me and comment with your thoughts and opinions! Happy reading. :)