Thursday, November 5, 2009

Liar by Justine Larbalestier

I have read Liar three times. Three times! I really want to know the truth of the story. I can’t help it. It is the same reason I love mysteries – I just like to know how they end (and I love to see how I was deceived along the way). So after three reads, I can’t actually say that I for-sure-absolutely-without-a-doubt know what happened, but I can say this is an amazingly well-written book. It holds up on each re-read because of the insane quality of the writing. It is a masterfully interwoven story with hints dropped, truths uncovered and then quickly covered back up, the truth is in there it is just hard to find. Frankly, I am wowed by it.

And now...let the SPOILERS begin.

I am definitely in the camp that Micah is in jail and is recounting her tale to a psychiatrist/therapist. She is an affirmed liar and gets great enjoyment out of lying. Everything she mentions in her “school history” sections (or perhaps more accurately, what little she mentions) shows the school as a jail/psychiatric unit. There are bars on the windows, it was built by the Quakers, it used to be a prison…I feel like It is probably a long-term psychiatric center.

I waffle back and forth on whether or not her brother Jordan was real. Today I’m leaning towards the he was real side, only because the vehemence with which she discussed him seemed too real to be completely invented. I find it hard to truly decide – she says at first he was born when she was 7, then he was born when she was 2. He is alive (and stealing Zach’s sweaters out of her room), he died when she was 12. Micah sneers at the idea that she was resentful of her brother, but it seems to me as though this is the case. I think she thought she could “accidentally” bump him off and all her parent’s attention would revert to her. How disappointing that they still celebrated his birthdays – how awful that she had to pretend not to be glad he was dead. I think this sustains her anger. Their attention should be solely on her.

As for Zach, I believe she was his “after-hours” girlfriend. I don’t think Zach was a good guy. He had an official girlfriend and he had girls on the side. Micah was one of his girls on the side. The feeling I got was that she was sort of obsessed with him. She wanted him, but more importantly she wanted him to want her more. Perhaps she killed him in a jealous rage after discovering him in his hidey-hole love spot in Inwood Park with another girl, but it is also likely is that he rejected her – broke it off with her, or wouldn’t break it off with the other girls. I do believe she killed him. I found it interesting that it is almost to the end of the book (p. 370 arc) where she finally says that she was harassed by lawyers and that there was a trial. The fact that she only mentions it once makes me believe the trial is a "true" thing.

I think it was possible Micah was born with a light covering of fur. Because babies sometimes are – especially if they are premature. It is called Lanugo. My own son had furry ears for a month or so. Or maybe her family suffers from hirsutism, which is a real condition where women suffer from excessive growth of facial and body hair. It can be treated, in part, with birth control pills.

Honestly though, I find it most likely that she made up the whole thing. Did she really have a survivalist Grandmother living in upstate New York? I don’t know. All I know is that I think she made up the entire werewolf thing. I think it made for a great story, one that distracted from the truth – that she killed Zach. Or if not distracting from killing Zach, explaining it away, attempting to reason why it happened, why it isn't actually her fault. Here’s the thing that convinced me the most. In Zach’s training journal Micah finds “punishing inconstant heart” written in someone else’s handwriting (p. 72 arc) – she never says it wasn’t her own although she leads you to think that with comments about how she could compare it to Sarah’s writing. Then much later (p 320 arc) she says “he didn’t miss me the way I missed him. He didn’t love me the way I loved him. There was nothing constant about his heart. Not like mine.” The use of the same word, the anger, that is what finally convinced me

Or maybe I’m completely wrong! I kind of want to hold the author hostage and make her tell me exactly what happened. Hmmm…is she coming to TLA?


wandering-dreamer said...

Um, I still haven't read the book and just scrolling down the page (not even trying to read the blurb!) I think I may have been majorly spoiled about the book, could you put it under a cut please?

joanna said...

I think you missed your chance at the book fest last month. I am also in camp crazy murdering asylum girl.