Open Letter to Mary Karr – Another Replacement Child

I just finished Lit, Mary Karr’s new masterpiece of a memoir.  It was her first memoir, The Liars’ Club, that inspired me to begin writing my book Replacement Child, so I impatiently waited for Lit to appear in my bookstore.

Besides being side-swiped by Karr’s incredible poetics and hard-hitting truisms throughout her new book, I found that we were both replacement children. In her story, she tells of how her mother sought to replace the babies that were taken from her by their father, and she traces the seeds of her mother’s craziness to that loss. Her replacement status was surely a main ingredient in Karr’s particular struggle for her own identity throughout her life.

We had other similarities in our lives too.  When I saw pictures of Karr with her son Dev, and learned how having her child brought her to face the stark reality of her alcoholism, it struck a chord. Though she credits prayer with saving her, I see motherhood as her catalyst, as it was my own. Mary Karr’s prose and poetic phrasing never cease to mesmerize me. What a beautiful book.

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