An Uncapped Pen

February 7, 2008

The Liar’s Diary

Filed under: Reading — cindylv @ 5:17 pm
Tags: , ,

I could subtitle this post: – a quick and dirty reaction.

Warning: Potential SPOILER – SPOILER – SPOILER

I’m disappointed. I read the first two chapters– no, I consumed the first two chapters within an hour of receiving the book from Lisa Kenney. Then last night I drove home from work and spent 3 hours in the tub racing through the rest of the book, completely enthralled. I took a short break at 10:00 pm to get out of the freezing cold water, dry off and plump out my waterlogged wrinkly skin. As my tea was infusing, I recapped the story (up to the part where Jeanne gets the list of suspects from George) to my husband as quickly as I could, with overwhelming enthusiasm and plenty of exclamation points!!!!!

With tea in hand, I plunged back into this den of liars with all their slimy secrets and finished it. Then I flipped back about 50 pages and re-read a few bits and pieces. I feel awful saying this, but I feel cheated. Patry didn’t fulfill the promise she made when I committed to reading her book.

For me, the story breaks down during the description of Jeanne’s activities in the cabin and the cellphone calls. Detail, detail, detail, summary – leap – detail, detail, detail. I’m sorry, but an author doesn’t get to slip out of the POV character’s head (especially in a first person narrative), and then LIE to me for another 50 pages about it.

Following along in near real time inside Jeanne’s head through an entire book, then ending a chapter with something along the lines of …”She had no idea how much she’d regret this later…” is like a door slamming in my face. I’m out of the storyworld and in my living room holding a book — yelling at the author.

This is a clunky, cheap device if I ever saw one. The instant I see this type of contrivance, I feel cheated. It’s like the author is telling me, “I know something you don’t know.” and then asking me to crawl back inside the character’s head and go along with her for the rest of the story.

I do get it. I understand that this is a play on the title. Everyone is lying, even the POV character. The book itself is the Liar’s Diary. They all lie to everyone, even me, the reader. But to do it in such a clunky, contrived way after all those wonderful pages (the literary equivalent of 17 years of marriage, I guess), is inexcusable.

Sorry, Lisa. I really wanted to love this book. I almost did.


1 Comment »

  1. Cindy,

    I was disappointed at the end as well. In fact, I read it at a particulary bad time in my life–in January, 2007, when the transfer to South Bend (near the rest of my family) fell through, and I was stuck with this bizarre life of commuting back home on my days off (at least until May of 2008, when my son graduates from high school). So I was pretty depressed to start with, and even more so when I got to the end of the book. I decided not to review it on Amazon, because I couldn’t give it four stars. Besides, I couldn’t trust my reaction to the book. Was it the book or my mood?

    I participated in Blogging for Patry Francis more because of Patry than the Liar’s Diary. And I wasn’t lying when I wrote that I still think of her characters. She created some believable and memorable characters. Like most of her regular blog readers, I’ve come to love her and would do whatever I could to help her.

    So I’m a little sad to have my disappointment in the book’s conclusion confirmed. I didn’t yell at her–I was too down to do that. But at the same time, your comments on the last 50 pages confirms the fact that my reaction to the ending wasn’t just because I was depressed at the time I read it.

    Comment by Steve Wylder — February 7, 2008 @ 7:04 pm | Reply

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