In the sequel to her marvelous memoir of a difficult childhood in east Texas, _The Liars' Club_, Karr describes her teens in Leechfield in the early 1960s. Her mother, fresh from a stint in a mental hospital, teaches the ladies painting and doesn't much sweat the small stuff (including anything her daughter might be up to), her father is a good-time guy who clearly doesn't understand her, and her older sister does her best to fit in with the crowd and pretend she's not a member of this dysfunctional family. There are friends, boyfriends, drugs, and a few run-ins with the law. But mostly, it's Karr's crystalline evocation of teenage womanhood, with all its fears, desires, and little triumphs, that make this as compulsively readable as its predecessor.
This report prepared by David Loftus