FEATURED EBOOK

Tracing her moral struggles to the day she accidentally took a sip of water before her Communion—a mortal sin—Mary McCarthy gives us eight funny and heartrending essays about the illusive and redemptive nature of memory

“During the course of writing this, I’ve often wished that I were writing fiction.”

Originally published in large part as standalone essays in the New Yorker and Harper’s Bazaar, Mary McCarthy’s acclaimed memoir begins with her recollections of a happy childhood cut tragically short by the death of her parents during the influenza epidemic of 1918.

Tempering memory with invention, McCarthy describes how, orphaned at six, she spent much of her childhood shuttled between two sets of grandparents and three religions—Catholic, Protestant, and Jewish. One of four children, she suffered abuse at the hands of her great-aunt and uncle until she moved to Seattle to be raised by her maternal grandparents. Early on, McCarthy lets the reader in on her secret: The chapter you just read may not be wholly reliable—facts have been distilled through the hazy lens of time and distance.

In Memories of a Catholic Girlhood, McCarthy pays homage to the past and creates hope for the future. Reminiscent of Nabokov’s Speak, Memory, this is a funny, honest, and unsparing account blessed with the holy sacraments of forgiveness, love, and redemption.

This ebook features an illustrated biography of Mary McCarthy including rare images from the author’s estate.

ABOUT Mary McCarthy

  • BIOGRAPHY

    Mary McCarthy (1912–1989) was an American literary critic and author of more than two dozen books including the 1963 New York Times bestseller The Group. Born in Seattle, McCarthy studied at Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, New York, and graduated in 1933. After moving to New York City, McCarthy became known for her incisive writing as a contributor to publications such as the Nation, the New Republic, and the New York Review of Books. Her debut novel, The Company She Keeps (1942), initiated her ascent to become one of the most celebrated writers of her generation, a reputation bolstered by the publication of her autobiography Memories of a Catholic Girlhood in 1957, as well as that of her now-classic novel The Group.

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