By Mary Karr
Karr survived a terrifying childhood with her sense of humor intact, and her memoir of that time makes my eyes water just thinking about it. She grew up with an emotionally unavailable father and a "nervous" mother. As she writes, "I should explain here that in East Texas parlance the term Nervous applied with equal accuracy to anything from chronic nail-biting to full-blown psychosis." I moved around frequently as a child, and it was a revelation to learn that someone else had lived this kind of life and grew up and hadn't just made peace with her own pain but saw it as a gift.