So first off, this was going to be an entirely different post today, but I finished a book yesterday and it has been stuck in my head all night, so I'm going to write about that instead. The book is called Liar by Justine Larbalestier which besides having a thoroughly unspellable last name is quickly rising in my favorite authors list. This book has actually been out for a couple of years and was part of a minor controversy because of the photo originally used for the cover, but I have just now gotten to it in my pile. This has to be one of the most frustrating, infuriating, thought-provoking, page-turning, WTF, genre defying books that I have read in a long time. The premise could easily have gotten away from the author, but she did an excellent job keeping a leash on it, the "twist" could have killed the whole story (and has for a few people who did not finish the book), but again the masterful writing kept me going. I am probably not being very coherent, but the book was just so...different, but in a really amazing way.
So here is where I am going stop everybody for a second, I was going to try and write this without spoilers, but really the only way to discuss it is to talk about the whole thing. If you have not read the book yet please please please do not read any further, go get the book and read it, all the way through, even through the parts that make you throw it across the room screaming SERIOUSLY!!!!!(which by the way I would not recommend doing with your Hubbins expensive tablet...just saying). By the time you finish it hopefully you will be thinking about it as a whole. Again do not spoil this for yourself, stop reading this post until you have finished the book and than come back and we will talk. Just a quick note before you read it or let your kids read it, this is a mature book, that deals with mature concepts not limited to sex and strong language (though interestingly enough the author actually includes a section on what makes a word a bad word hmmm)
Ok so everybody who is reading this has read the book all the way through right?!? Because if you haven't not only are you being very naughty and the spoiler fairy is going to come take the last chapter of all your books away, but you are depriving yourself of a great reading experience. The main reason I am so adamant about spoilers is not so much the plot itself, is that this book is best read with no pre-conceptions. If I tell you this book is about a person suffering from a mental illness, you will miss out on a lot of elements of the story. If I tell you it is an urban fantasy about werewolves, you may not even pick the book up. If I tell you it is a dark depressing tale of a crazed teenage murderer...well who knows what you might think then. To me the best part about this book is that it is all of these and quite possibly so so so much more, but before I get to far ahead of myself lets delve into the book a little shall we?
The book is split into three parts and that is how I will go through my rambling:
Part One: Telling The Truth- The book starts out with our main character Micah telling us directly that she is a liar, it is in the opening paragraph of the book and she is very clear on that, in fact if there is one thing you can actually believe whole-heartedly in this story is that Micah is in fact a liar. Of course with an opening like this the reader is instantly on guard. Micah speaks to the reader directly throughout the whole book, like she knows somebody is reading/listening, but it is never made clear who the audience is supposed to be. Is it us the reader, a shrink, a detective, herself, her family? It just adds to the surrealness of it all. This part of the story we are introduced to the main event which is the death of one of Micah's classmates Zach. Throughout this chapter we learn some of Micah and Zach's history together, she was his "after-hours" girlfriend. He had a pretty and popular girlfriend, but he used to hang out and run (and kiss) with Micah on the side. This and Micah's reputation as a liar leads her to be suspected and shunned by most of her fellow classmates. We also start to learn some of Micah's personal history and the ever present "family illness" that seems to be prevalent in Micah's thoughts. She gives several examples of her lying (pretending she is a boy and later a hermaphrodite) her love of running (she is insanely fast) and her feelings toward Zach (running from ambivalent to love). The scene is set, the story started, Micah is a liar never forget that. This part of the book was probably the most coherent. Micah tells of a life of a typical outsider teen with an ailment that sets her apart from her fellow classmates. She has to be on birth control pills to help regulate her cycle and to keep a fine layer of hair from covering her whole body. She lives in a cramped apartment with her Father, Mother and little obnoxious brother Jordan. All of these things a typical teen might relate to. I though no longer a teenager can remember back to that time and I can almost understand why Micah would make things up to get a certain type of attention, who wouldn't want the whole school to think her dad was an arms dealer?
What did you think?!? Do you like books that are left open ended, or does if feel to much like the season finale of Lost? Do unreliable narrators make a story more enjoyable or just frustrating? Did you read the whole post 'cause if you did you get a gold star!