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Lunch » Tags » Books » Reviews » The Book of Lies: A Novel » User review

A Late Night B-Movie in Book Form

  • Nov 23, 2011
Rating:
+1
You know how you see those really bad movies late at night? The ones with little to no plot, horrible acting, mortifying scripts but, you just can't help yourself? You have to watch it. That's how this book was to me. Most of the book was incredibly slow but, I couldn't stop reading. Surely, like the same thought you prescribe to with those movies, it'll get better, it can't be worse. Or could it? Also, like those movies, you find that you wasted all that time with little payoff.

The book toggles between two parallel stories- that of an eccentric (and that's putting it mildly) 15-year-old victim of bullying stuck on a small island plagued with its own secrets and her uncle (1943-1965) who was a victim of those secrets. Usually, I enjoy parallel stories, like I did in the Tales of the City series but, that was done in a cohesive way.

Spoiler Alerts included (though I don't think you care since you really shouldn't waste your time with this one!):

The author often includes footnotes on every little detail of the small island or what supposed journal a quote was taken from (since this is fiction, who cares? It isn't going to be a real article!) Also, when the uncle speaks in Patois (the island's unique language that sounds and looks like French), she doesn't include any translations. I was able to get the gist because I can understand French but, even I found it incredibly annoying. Why would you include all these superfluous details but, leave out the important stuff? The footnotes were incredibly disruptive and only on a few occasions did they add to the story.

The main character, Cat/Cathy, is annoying. There doesn't seem to be any redeeming quality about her except her intelligence (which of course she showcases at all the wrong moments) and maybe the pity you feel for her as a bully victim. She's a murderer and a liar (lying about a teacher's sexual advances to her when he was the only one who was nice to her). She's selfish. She binge drinks, preferring to force herself to throw up and continue drinking as opposed to showing moderation or passing out. She has no accountability for her actions, even when she kills someone! The thing that kept me intrigued is what is this crazy chick going to do next?

The last quarter of the book is good and starts getting traction as you find out the who-what-where-why-and how of the murder that's confessed to at the beginning of the book. But, it's easy to spot half the answers to those questions since if you've been paying half attention, the foreshadowing is done way too early in the book. By the time, it comes, it's anti-climactic at best. At the end, she says there is a twist but, I didn't see it. If it's what I think it is, it isn't a twist at all because again, you can see it a mile away.

Often I threatened to return it to the library THEVERYNEXTDAY but, kept reading in hopes of it getting better. It was interesting to learn about Guernsey, which I thought was fictional until I looked it up, and its role during the German Occupation during WWII. It was interesting to look into a (slightly demented) teenager's mind that's stuck on a small island and to see what social dynamics occur there. It was interesting to finally see what happened with the murder. That's about it. I can give it a +1 for that.

Rating is out of 5 and thankfully, I borrowed this book from the library. HIGHLY NOT RECOMMENDED!

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About this book

Wiki

Life on the tiny island of Guernsey has just become a whole lot harder for fifteen-year-old Cat Rozier. She’s gone from model pupil to murderer, but she swears it’s not her fault. Apparently it’s all the fault of history.

A new arrival at Cat’s high school in 1984, the beautiful and instantly popular Nicolette inexplicably takes Cat under her wing. The two become inseparable—going to parties together, checking out boys, and drinking whatever liquor they can shoplift. But a perceived betrayal sends them spinning apart, and Nic responds with cruel, over-the-top retribution.

Cat’s recently deceased father, Emile, dedicated his adult life to uncovering the truth about the Nazi occupation of Guernsey—from Churchill’s abandonment of the island to the stories of those who resisted—in hopes of repairing the reputation of his older brother, Charlie. Through Emile’s letters and Charlie’s words—recorded on tapes before his own death— a “confession” takes shape, revealing the secrets deeply woven into the fabric of the island . . . and into the Rozier family story.

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Details

ISBN-10: 0062065092
ISBN-13: 978-0062065094
Author: Mary Horlock
Genre: Historical Fiction
Publisher: Harper Perennial; Original edition (July 19, 2011)
Date Published: July 19, 2011
Format: Paperback
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