Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Review: "The First True Lie" by Marina Mander

Despite the curse words and crude remarks made by Luca, the young narrator of Marina Mander’s first novel to be translated into English, The First True Lie, can never rise above it’s immature nature. Not that there is anything wrong with it, but this novel felt too much like a young adult novel, and for someone who wants a little bit more to chew on, I felt disappointed that this book was not living up to its potential, because it gets a lot of things right that are not on the page. It has a great emotional core with Luca’s reaction to his sad situation one that is unique and probably more realistic when something like this happens in the real world (and I’m sad to say that it does), but too much of the time, through the writing and characterization, this book talks down to its audience, who want a more adult-oriented tale. The setup is cool, I must admit, recalling the dark morality tales of fellow Italian Niccolo Ammaniti: a young boy named Luca lives with his mom in an apartment building. She brings forth a veritable production line of new “father” for Luca, who seems to preoccupied with his toy collection and his pet cat Blue, who he is prone to treat like a best friend who can agree and disagree with him. One day he finds his mom, prone to narcolepsy, dead in her bedroom. Instead of calling for help, he acts like nothing as happened; he is said for his mother’s death, but now that he is a “full orphan”, he wants to live as a spate person. Soon the dishes aren’t washed, his clothes are all dirty, and his mom’s corpse begins to stink of the apartment. This is a novel that should have been a short story instead, with it having only a few key moments of tension and discovery. But even that wouldn’t help the fact that this reads like YA, which I am too old for, and I hope most of the people who pick this up are too old as well. It’s a short read, but not a rewarding one.

Rating: 3/5

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