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Liar - Justine Larbalestier I always talk about this book in my reviews because I absolutely adore it. I didn't really know much about this book when I first started it, so that saved me from a spoiled surprise.

There are very few books I can say I've loved with an "unresolved ending". I went through many of the reviews that gave this artistic look into a pathological liar's POV, and I want to address the common problems people have with the story.



The book is divided into three parts. Part one is her as a normal teen girl/pathological liar. Part two is her using her compulsive lying to keep her real secret: she's a werewolf. And I'll get to part three later.

1. She's a pathological liar. First, you should know some background information. From what I already know about the phenomenon, the lies may not be entirely convoluted and fantastical. There is usually an element of truth to them, especially because compulsive lying involves the careful deceiving of oneself. Now, if you keep that in mind, some things make a weird sort of sense. Like her odd case of lycanthropy. Her transformation almost obviously coincides with aspects of puberty. And, let's face it, this is not the first parallel between transforming into a werewolf and getting your period (ladies). The full moon? The aching? Hair everywhere?

2. She's a werewolf? To be honest, you're really not going to sympathize with this entire portion of the book, if you don't like being confused and lied to. Not that I like being lied to, but I can get why Micah would lie to protect herself and her family. I can respect that. I also respect that compulsive lying isn't a simple fix. You don't just say to yourself: "today I'll stop lying". It's the same with OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder).

If you are sick of reading werewolf books, that should be okay, because this really isn't about the werewolf-transformation or struggle. It's about her struggle as a liar and an outcast in her family. It's supposed to be about her trying to fit in, but not getting the help she needs.

If the reader did not get that message in the book, I'm not sure they were really reading it.

3. It was really confusing because she's a liar and I can't trust her perspective. That has to be one of the most ignorant things I've ever heard. You're assuming anyone else's perspective is trustworthy. That's like saying "hey this guy says he didn't physically assault that girl, and I know he's not a liar, so his perspective is probably true/honest." Or more accurately, it's like saying your history books are 100% on the ball about what "actually happened". Winston Churchill once said that "history is written by the victors". Now, a non-pathological liar POV may be a little more accurate, but all memory is subjective to our own small additions and alterations. Just the other day I was convinced I invented leg warmers.

I admit that I was a bit more wary of Micah's information when she admitted to her lying ways, but then I sort of fell for her. I struggled through the transformations with her; the horrible fate or non-fate of her brother; and exploring sex.

4. She is self-absorbed and selfish. So is every other teenager. How is this news?

5. She blames every one else for her problems. She has serious issues. Um, let me get this straight, you decided to sit down and read a book about a pathological liar and that is the only psychological problem you could pinpoint? I can't wait until you get to the grown up books! Micah is not advertised as perfect, so I'm not sure why readers are complaining about her faults. If you want a book full of one-sided characters there's this "saga" I know of...

6. I don't like fantasy or supernatural books. This book was deceptive. I could actually shoot myself in the face right now. But hey, did you know this book is about a compulsive liar?

7. I couldn't keep track of the lies. Make a list.

8. I can't believe I wasted my time reading that. I absolutely hate anything by Dickens and I still spent my precious time reading all of his works. If you can't even sit through a 300-page book that you dislike, I am afraid school will be (or probably is) very difficult for you.

9. There is no resolution. That was so unsatisfying. This is where I get to part three: the revelation of Micah's situation. She's been sent away from her parents and claims to be writing at some sort of "dorm" situation (at college), but this is where things get murky and a little depressing. This is where the truth of everything is really questioned. Because she is likely not with her parents, and she is not happy. Personally, I suspect her parents finally found her help and that she's living with others seeking help. You know, Girl, Interrupted style. But these loose ends exist on purpose. It adds to the lies and the question of which parts of Micah's lies are actually the truth.

It almost seems that her lies are unraveling around her as she's writing, however. Let me explain: the first part she seems tightly wound, secretive and adamant about sticking to her compulsion. The lies are small; believable.

In the second part it's almost as if something has disturbed Micah's resolve completely. Her lies spin out of control. She is telling such far-fetched lies, such as being a werewolf and causing her brother's death (or him existing at all), that it makes you feel as though she's panicked. Almost like she's holding on to her lies for dear life; letting them spin out of control so she can be engulfed by them. Anything to avoid dealing with her present life and actual situation.

The final part almost seems to accept Micah's fate. Her lies have weakened their hold on her mind. She can't completely deceive herself anymore. It's almost like she's getting better, but there's sort of this sad sigh of truth (of things as they actually are) at the end.

And that's why this story is so well-written. To the well-organized mind, this is a beautiful deterioration AND triumph of the psyche.



Now I realize I can't convince people to like this book, but I've read MANY horrible books that were teen or those "grown up" books I was either forced to read or wanted to read myself--so I feel like I know a well-written book as much as the next bibliophile. That is my two cents (not that you can trust it, of course).