Saturday, March 26, 2016

Liar by Rob Roberge

About Liar

An intense memoir about mental illness, memory and storytelling, from an acclaimed novelist.

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. Darkly funny 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.

This book was not at all what I expected from the description. It is unlike any memoir I have ever read, in that it is written in second person. That in itself took some getting used to. Also it reads less like a book and more like a disjointed list of events. It begins in 1977 and then jumps to 1912 and the sinking of the titanic before moving ahead to 2009 and then 2002. It's like dropping a photo album, shuffling the pictures and putting them back in no particular order. It was difficult to follow. That is not to say the events themselves were not book worthy, but the writing style was just not for me.

I received a complimentary copy for review.

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