Saturday, January 4, 2014

Short Story Weekly #7: The First True Lie by Marina Mander

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Accepted Readers,

The months of November and December were crazy busy for me! The holidays are a stressful time for me and I glad the big ones are over. This new year I'm going to try really hard to stick to a schedule and post more stuff for you guys. I'm bring back Short Story Weekly and promise to keep up on it this time. Okay, enough of my babble let's get on to my review. =-P
Author: Marina Mander
# of pages: 144
Genre: Fiction- Literary 
Expected Publication: January 21st, 2014
Purchase info: Pre-order via:
Random House ($13.00 paperback)
Amazon ($9.75 paperback- $7.99 e-book)
B & N ($9.75 paperback - $9.99 e-book)

An utterly compelling, heartbreaking novel that introduces a revelatory young voice to the U.S. market.

Meet Luca, a curious young boy living with his mother, a taciturn woman who "every now and then tries out a new father." Luca keeps to himself, his cat, Blue, and his words--his favorite toys. One February morning his mom doesn't wake up to bring him to school, so Luca--with a father who's long gone and driven by a deep fear of being an orphan ("part of you is missing and people only see the part that isn't there")--decides to pretend to the world that his mom is still alive. Luca has a worldly comprehension of humanity, and grapples with his gruesome situation as the stench of the rotting body begins to permeate his home.

But this remarkable narrative is not insufferably morbid. Luca also pretends that Blue is his personal assistant and that they're on an expedition in outer space together; he goes for observant trips to the store, where he uses the contents of a basket to astutely assess the person who's filled it; he fantasizes about marrying his school crush, Antonella (whose freckles on her nose are described as being a pinch of cinnamon on whipped cream.)

Ultimately, we are witness to something much more poignant that needs no translation: the journey of a young boy deciding--in a more devastating manner than most--to identify himself independently, reaching the point at which he can say: "I am no longer an orphan. I am a single human being. It's a matter of words."
Writing Style: 
The way this book is written reminds me of poetry. I would describe it as insightful, inspiring, depressing, and complicated beautiful morbid lyrical poetry. 

My review:
The First True Lie is a hard book to digest. The story is told through the voice of a young boy named Luca who deals with the death of his mother in a very strange and grim way. He decides to carry on with his life as if she isn't really dead, hoping that she may come back to life. You witness Luca slowly losing grip with reality and bouts of madness and insanity. It was overwhelming to see such a brilliant young boy crumble in such a manner. I honestly wanted to pull him out of the book so I could hug him and tell him everything would be okay. If I could, I would adopt him. I would have done anything just to soothe him. (Which is saying a lot because kids aren't my forte.)

So, yes...I loved Luca and his story but I couldn't bring myself to rate it higher than 3 stars for a few reasons. First off the ending irritated me. It is the mother of all cliff-hangers and left me with many questions. It almost feels like the story isn't completely finished. The hurt it brought was unimaginable. Secondly, I had to re-read some portions of the book a few times before I could understand them. I expected this because it is told through the voice of a young child and children usually don't have rational behavior but I found myself confused far too often. I may have to read this one again to see if my opinion changes. I will say, give this book a chance because you have to meet Luca... I guarantee he will steal your heart.

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