Monday, 19 February 2018

Book Review: Lie With Me

This book felt like it had been on the ‘to be read’ list for months and so I finally managed to fit in reading it, although in fairness it is a short read of just under 300 pages which is always a nice, reasonable amount of pages. The cover does an excellent job of being intriguing whilst not giving anything away. Anyone who is human knows that lies are easy to tell but hard to remember at events, parties, even on the street; to friends, family and even acquaintances. It’s hard to stop at one lie, so the lies just keep coming to the point that you don’t even know what is the truth and what is a lie anymore. It’s just as easy to find yourself desperate to fit in, clinging to any chance of a future with someone you would never look at twice if they weren’t rich, although you’re not the only one with a secret. Or a lie. The problem with lies is that no matter how big or small, they’re difficult to take back after a while, particularly when you start to forget what you’ve said or done, particularly when alcohol has been involved. The question is, what lengths would you go to in the hopes of gaining the perfect life? Or what you think is the perfect life.

This is a book that actually starts off pretty slowly; it takes a considerable amount of pages to suddenly start getting under your skin enough to keep you perched at the edge of your seat. However, one of the things that makes this book a good read is the use of the unreliable narrator; the reader is made aware very quickly that the narrator is a liar and a cheat; but that being said, it is purely his perspective that we see into his world with and so how can his word be trusted when he’s so untrustworthy? As much as he seems to be a bit of an asshole, he also has some interesting ideas and views of the world, so overall he does present an excellent characterised narrative. He definitely has greedy, ambitious traits to his personality, so it’s unsurprising that he finds himself stuck in difficult situations fairly regularly throughout the novel. Having had a bestselling book published fresh out of university, he has a higher opinion of himself than necessary, practically living off the fame and fortune of that one success, whilst in reality he's unemployed and uninspiring. He’s definitely the narrator whom the reader is supposed to avidly dislike, although in all honesty none of the characters in this book are at all likeable.

Even his motives for going to an old friends house party were not particularly honourable, although through his narrative voice, the reader does know of his intentions. Through his desperation to be rich, handsome and successful he deliberately chooses someone rich to start a relationship with, for his own ends. However, because of his self-importance and overall confidence, he is unaware of his ‘friends’ little plan to frame him for something that he is sure that he didn’t do. Unfortunately, copious amounts of alcohol make it difficult to remember events fully, making our narrator even more unreliable. He wasn't an alcoholic, binge drinker is probably a better description, but that said he does take that to the extreme, as he does in every aspect of his life. Although, one of reasons why this novel ended up being such a page turner was that not a single character could be trusted; every single one of them was a liar about something or other; man, woman or child. When crimes are committed in another country, right within the tourist area and season, it does look incredibly suspicious and who better to investigate further than a group of tourists? Our narrator is the outlier, having not visited the country for ten years, which was exactly when another crime was committed in the town; understandably, fingers are pointed for obvious reasons. The question is, however, is he being framed or is he an excellent liar?

Overall, this book was an excellent read although it did have rather a slow start, once the plot began to pick up it didn’t stop shocking from there on. In general, I am a fairly impatient reader and I do like to gripped from the first page, which I didn’t get from this book but I would recommend reading it as it somehow did grab my attention regardless. I liked that a lot of the build up was surrounding a holiday to Greece and the eventual holiday turned out to be anything but what I had originally expected; I love it when a book surprises me. I don’t want to spoil anything, but I will say that no single character in the novel is what they seem. I'm still not sure if the whole novel really happened or if the narrator (who is a writer) has carefully concocted an interesting perspective for a book. Who knows? I'm probably wrong, but I love a book that gets me thinking. A good 4 stars, purely because it didn’t quite grip me from the get go, but the ending was incredible, making the whole thing a satisfying read.

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