Home Before Dark is a regular reader and frequent commenter on Mrs. Blandings. Her comments have always rung true to me. They are thoughtful. I wish I were equally consistent. She emailed me after a post, I’ve forgotten which one, and said, “You should read Mary Karr.” I’m quite sure I wrote Karr’s name down somewhere, but nowhere that I have run across since.
Then, in Colorado Springs, being held hostage on my way back from California, I made a brief escape. An hour, perhaps two. And to where did I flee? A bookstore. Not any bookstore, but a used bookstore in an inauspicious shopping center. I lingered longer than I ought. I was eavesdropping on the owner, a man who I assume refers to himself as the Bookman, as he talked to a regular customer about a book, the name of which she had forgotten. The plot, also, was fuzzy; she would bring it in. He talked with her about it pleasantly for a very long time. And then they visited about his cat, who happened to be there and didn’t seem to mind at all that she was being discussed.
I wandered up and down the aisles, with no particular book in mind, wondering how in the world used book stores make the rent and being forever glad that they do. I’ve noticed, in these situations, the wandering ones (much like this post), the right volume tends to fall into my hands. I did glance at design books first, and there were some fine offerings, but none that I needed so I headed to memoir. For someone who avoided non-fiction for forty years or more, I’ve read nearly nothing since for the last three.
And there she was. Mary Karr. Wasn’t that the author that HBD had suggested? I thought it was. So I bought both the Liars’ Club and Cherry and headed back up the mountain. It seems remarkable to me that the very small town (it is not a town, really, but a sign on the side of the road) where my husband’s family has vacationed for nearly one hundred years is the very same spot where Karr’s mother took her children when she left their father.
I gobbled them both then bought lit. Hers is a remarkable story and she is a wonderful writer. I recommend the books and the Bookman; their works have heart.