Notes From A Liar And Her Dog by Gennifer Choldenko
|Notes From A Liar And Her Dog by Gennifer Choldenko|
|Category: Confident Readers|
|Reviewer: Jill Murphy|
|Summary: Nicely judged tale of family dynamics in which an unreliable narrator gains sympathy but in which the reader is gently shown every avenue in which things are going wrong. The easy, casual style packs a genuine emotional impact.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 224||Date: January 2008|
|Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC|
Antonia MacPherson is always in trouble. She tells lies. Not fibs, but big, whacking lies. She's always doing it. It doesn't matter how often she gets into trouble. Ant's biggest whopper is the one about being adopted. It's a whopper of such enormous proportions that she has actually come to believe it herself. She keeps a scrapbook of letters she's written to her real parents, letters in which she pours out her miseries and looks forward to the day they come and rescue her from her fake parents, Mr and Mrs MacPherson.
Because Ant isn't happy at home. She's the middle child - the little brown acorn between her two blonde bombshell sisters, Your Highness Elizabeth and Katherine the Great. Ant's sisters never put a foot wrong and they are favoured by Ant's mother, who sees Ant as a juvenile delinquent in waiting. It's no wonder that lying has become a way of life for Ant, as she so eloquently puts it why waste truth on people who won't understand?
But Ant does have people in her corner. She has Just Carol, her art teacher, who can see that something is terribly wrong and does her best to help this angry little girl. She has Harrison, a true and loyal friend. And she has her dog, Pistachio, whom Ant loves more than life itself. But even friends such as these can't make up for feeling as though you don't belong in your own family.
This is a deft, light, easy to read book about some painful family dynamics. Everyone, especially Ant and her mother are in horribly entrenched positions and everything they do makes things worse rather than better. It's told in the first person, and Ant makes a delightfully unreliable narrator - you really do feel her pain, but you also sigh with exasperation at her stubbornness and you can't help but laugh as she steadfastly refuses to do anything to make life easier for herself. You can't help but root for her though.
There are a lot of kindly, gentle messages about compromise and empathy in this little book. It's simply written but it has great emotional depth. It's an honest book about lying, and this makes it tremendously attractive. It has a happy ending, but it's not too happy and the little loose ends make it feel real. Choldenko creates sympathetic and believable characters who struggle with the everyday problems with which we all struggle. She's an American Jacqueline Wilson - approachable, honest, and kind.
My thanks to the nice people at Bloomsbury for sending the book.
If they enjoyed Notes From A Liar, they might also like the last book in Hilary McKay's wonderful Casson series, Forever Rose in which lies cause trouble for poor Rose Casson.
You can read more book reviews or buy Notes From A Liar And Her Dog by Gennifer Choldenko at Amazon.co.uk
You can read more book reviews or buy Notes From A Liar And Her Dog by Gennifer Choldenko at Amazon.com.
Like to comment on this review?
Just send us an email and we'll put the best up on the site.