Sunday, February 21, 2016

Liar by Rob Roberge

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 Tange 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 bard 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 was the first book I received from First to Read. This is not about the book, but I really have to get it out... I requested this book over a month ago and didn't even know that I was approved until a couple of weeks ago. I wish they would offer a Kindle version or hard copy of books. When I realized I was approved to read a copy of the book, it took me forever to even figure out how to read it. The first app I downloaded, I couldn't figure out how to login to it, and the 2nd one I tried, which I ended up reading the book in, sucks compared to all of the other reading apps I've tried.

Ok, now that I've over that little rant (which has nothing at all to do with the actual book).

By the time I was able to access the book, I was pretty frustrated and really hoping the book was going to be work it.

The first page really caught my attention, and my frustration subsided.

The principal paired him with a new girl at school, told him to take care of her and show her around, in an attempt to keep him out of trouble. Then, she was killed. This was in 1977, and even 40 years later, he researched her death in an attempt to help himself feel better and less responsible.
Her killer was never found, and every day, he looked at men and thought they could be her killer, especially before he left his hometown at the age of 18.

The book is a memoir written with excerpts from different times in the author's life. In 1984, he was diagnosed with bipolar disorder, with rapid cycling and occasional psychotic episodes, and despite his doctor's many warnings, he continues to self-medicate with drugs and alcohol on top of his prescriptions.

This book, while not in chronological order, goes through the ups and downs of a man diagnosed with bipolar disorder, battling addiction, and sometimes trying to navigate life as best he can. While everyone's lives have ups and downs, these can be catastrophic when mental illness is thrown in the equation. When he is diagnosed with a disease that will likely take his memories from him, he decides to document all the crazy things from his life that he can remember...or mostly things that he remembers others telling him happened, since often he was not coherent enough to remember and had to rely on those present the night before to recall what happened the night before.

I LOVE LOVE LOVE a good memoir! And this was a good memoir!

 I also am going to school to be a therapist and have always been intrigued by learning about people's experiences with mental illnesses.

I'm not sure how I feel about the book jumping around from time to time, often years, or even decades apart. You read one excerpt from 1988, then read something that happened in 2013. I hoped that a reason for this would become apparent at some point, but I think the book would have been just as effective written in chronological order.... but maybe that's just me....

So, I'm speeding through this book, really enjoying it.... then it just ends!


Right now, I cannot think of any other book that I hated the ending to it as much as this one!

I do not want to give the ultimate spoiler and ruin the ending, but it was not how the author should have ended it.

I actually had to check 3 times to make sure that I was actually reading the last page and that I had not, accidentally, skipped ahead or something, since I was reading the ebook on my phone.

That being said, overall, I really liked this book! (Yes, I did, even though I just ranted about the way it ended). I will not let the last few pages get in the way of my enjoyment of the rest of the book.

This book made me want to read other books by the author.

I received a copy of this book from the publishers, via First to Read, in exchange for an honest review.

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