Thursday, June 23, 2011

Book 14 of '11 Liar by Justine Larabalestier

Dust Jacket Description:

"Meet the narrator who leaves readers reeling. Dare to believe her?Micah is a liar. That's the one thing she won't lie about. Over the years, she's duped her classmates, her teachers, and even her parents. But when her boyfriend Zach dies under brutal circumstances, Micah sets out to tell the truth. At first the truth comes easily-because it is a lie. Other truths are so unbelievable, so outside the realm of normal, they must be a lie. And the honest truth is buried so deep in Micah's mind even she doesn't know if it's real.

The ultimate unreliable narrator takes readers on a thrill ride in this highly acclaimed novel. Prepare to grasp for truth until the very last page."



Characters: Reading about Micah made me recall my own lying behavior. I ended up relating to Micah a bit more than what would be comfortable. She was a fascinating character to read about. There's nothing likable about her, but her psyche is what keeps a reader gripping the pages. There is so much ambiguity thanks to Micah, our unreliable narrator, it almost seems unfair to discuss the rest of the characters.

Even Micah's depiction of Zach, the boy she supposedly love, often varies. Sometimes she sees him with in a brutal, unrelenting light, and others she sees him as her savior in solitude. I wonder if this inconsistency was something Larbalestier added to make the reader speculate over Micah's reliability, or if it was one of the natural aspects of their odd romantic relationship. The same thing occurred with Micah's descriptions of her parents. I still don't know for sure about Micah's relationships- or even have any other proof for speculation of their falsehood - and that issue in a nutshell is why I was so disappointed with Larbalestier's approach with this book.

One very wonderful thing about Micah's personality is that the reader gets a very clear, brutal perspective of each one of the supporting characters. I enjoyed reading about Sarah specifically because of Micah's sharp, clear and mean perception of her.

As for Micah's family and her actual relationship with Zach, I am still groping for some understanding of what was true and false.

I enjoyed the side characters Larbalestier crafted and Micah is a brilliantly formed character. But I still don't feel like I even remotely understand Micah's compulsion for lying - and that's why I picked up the book in the first place. 4 flowers.

Writing:
I honestly think this is the best book I have ever read where an author's narrative voice completely transformed into their protagonist's. I flipped to the back page frequently, wondering how Larbalestier could have created such a fully realized character in Micah. I'm more than pleased with Larbalestier's brilliance. 5 flowers.

Plot:
My ultimate problem with Liar is how little insight the reader actual gets into Micah's psyche. The book - although I loved the physical structure, which had no chapters and there were a lot of intrusions about Micah telling you when she had in fact lied - consisted mostly of - and then this happened. And then I did this. And here is the back story. No where did I get to see why Micah lies . Maybe giving the reader some perspective by letting the reader see Micah unravel would have defeated the point of the concept of the novel. But while I adore intelligent reads, I'm not going to spin myself in circles unless I have insight into the protagonist's mind in the first place. 3 and a half flowers.

End: Larbalestier had me in her palm until the Big Reveal came about. When it happened, I felt scammed and disappointed. Yes, it could be genius. I was hungrily waiting from that point to the end to see Larbalestier give us context to Micah. But there is no little information to go on and Micah is always composed in her recollections that by the time I closed the novel, my mind hadn't been blown. It had only been frustrated into submission. 3 flowers.

Dust Jacket Description:
I actually love this description. 5 flowers.

Cover:
I know all the whitewashing drama that came with Liar. But even with this properly African American model, she looks nothing like the Micah in my mind. 3 flowers.

Overall:
There is absolutely no doubting that Larbalestier can write. The world she crafts here is filled with complexity and intelligence. But there is NOTHING in this book that provides solid evidence for ANYTHING, and that overwhelming instability left me disappointed. 3 and a half flowers.

1 comment:

  1. This is a great review! We've been wondering about Liar for a while (pretty much ever since the big cover brouhaha) and now we feel like we have a good idea of what it's about and how it reads. Thanks for the writeup!

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