Friday, January 29, 2016

book review: Liar

When Rob Roberge learns that he's likely to have developed a progressive memory-eroding disease from years of hard living and frequent concussions, he is terrified by the prospect of becoming a walking shadow. In a desperate attempt to preserve his identity, he sets out to (somewhat faithfully) record the most formative moments of his life—ranging from the brutal murder of his childhood girlfriend, to a diagnosis of rapid-cycling bipolar disorder, to opening for famed indie band Yo La Tengo at The Fillmore in San Francisco. But the process of trying to remember his past only exposes just how fragile the stories that lay at the heart of our self-conception really are. 
As Liar twists and turns through Roberge’s life, it turns the familiar story of sex, drugs, and rock ‘n’ roll on its head. Blackly comic and brutally frank, it offers a remarkable portrait of a down and out existence cobbled together across the country, from musicians’ crashpads around Boston, to seedy bars popular with sideshow freaks in Florida, to a painful moment of reckoning in the scorched Wonder Valley desert of California. As Roberge struggles to keep addiction and mental illness from destroying the good life he has built in his better moments, he is forced to acknowledge the increasingly blurred line between the lies we tell others and the lies we tell ourselves.

My Review:
This book speaks volumes about the struggles and consequences of addiction without ever sounding self deprecating or remorseful.
At the same time, it doesn't once glorify alcohol or drugs or mental illness. It never presents itself as "look at me, I've been through more than you!" What I love about this book is that it wasn't written for an audience. It was written for the author, who despite sufferings and embarrassments, doesn't want to forget.
Lately I've been smoking more and drinking wine at night. This book made me look at myself. Even though I may not be nearly as far gone as the author was, there isn't anything saying it couldn't happen to me. The author's dry wit is tactful, making the book entertaining to read without sugar coating the hard stuff. The one area I really struggled with while considering my review was whether I would get this book as a gift for someone. I'd definitely recommend it to people, but wouldn't quite buy one for them.
My recommendation: splurge on the hard copy, and spread the word.
I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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