Thursday, March 18, 2010
Liar by Justine Larbalestier
Well, this book was certainly a trip. It was kind of like watching The Sixth Sense and Fight Club at the same time. A lot has been said about the two different covers of the book. Bloomsbury sent out the advanced reader's copies (arc's) with the cover on the left, but there was such an outcry of rage, considering the main character is Black, that they changed it the cover on the right. (even though that model looks nothing like the way the main character Micah describes herself) The main point of this book is that you can't trust anything Micah says, and it is really hard to read a book where the narrator never tells the truth. One of the interesting things I thought about the original cover, is that that since it depicts Micah as white, does that mean she is lying about being biracial? Larbalestier says no, she says that her race is on of the only things Micah actually tells the truth about and while I am all for a larger range of POC (people of color) in YA fiction (and everywhere) I think it would be extremely interesting if that was something Micah was in fact lying about. It is confusing, at points, trying to figure out Micah's racial identity. I am thinking specifically of a point towards the end of the book. Now I can't really go in to what happens without giving away a HUGE SPOILER, so if you haven't read the book and you plan on it, and you hate spoilers, stop reading.
SPOILER: NO REALLY, A HUGE SPOILER WHERE I RUIN THE ENTIRE BOOK, STOP READING.
When she is talking to Pete, the new wolf that goes to live with her family upstate, she mentions that she is the only Black wolf on her father's side and the rest are white, even though her father is Black. Huh? I am pretty sure that her whole "I and generations of my family before me are werewolves", is a huge delusion and she is really just a psychopathic killer trying to justify murdering her boyfrienD and the entire story pretty much takes place in her mind. So if that were the case, she would basically be saying she is the only Black person in her family which I'm pretty sure is biologically impossible. So what does it mean?
END OF SPOILER
Is she lying about her race? Larbalestier says no, but that's the great thing about literature; once a book is published, it becomes open for a million interpretations and responses from the readers, some which the author might never had intended. Does that make them any less valid? That depends on which literary theory you believe in, and if you believe in reader response than my response and analysis is just as valid as anyone elses. But that's a whole other discussion. This is a great book, but it is very confusing. Read it if you are willing to scratch your head numerous times and go huhwhat?