At long last, our fifth and final debut of the year–Kristina Riggle’s book Real Life and Liars. The title reminds me of that old joke about the liar who says he lies about everything. But if he lies about everything, isn’t that statement also a lie? Families often lie to one another, if only to protect each other, and the family Kristina creates her book is no exception.
Real Life and Liars is a big family drama of a book with three generations of a family packed into a house for an anniversary party. The book is full of questions about happiness, life and love. What do each of the characters want from life? What were the roads not taken? One daughter struggles with admitting that her perfect life that is coming apart, another is grappling with a new marriage and an unexpected pregnancy, and the son is struggling to find love and success as a songwriter. But the news that awaits them that weekend overshadows everything and makes them reevaluate their problems. Their mother ihas breast cancer and she does not want the surgery
In the book, Kristina skillfully shifts point of view in each of the chapters. We get to see how the three kids and their mother see themselves, but also how others see them. In each chapter we receive more information about the characters and have a chance to understand each of them better.
I, of course, loved that the dad was a mystery writer (okay, spy thrillers—but close enough!). He is successful enough to support the family, but is still no one that anyone has ever really heard of. And we never heard his point of view. I guess he’s already had his say in his own books!
Kristina is a powerful writer, and she’s writes about strong emotions and family ties. The chapter where the mother is up on the dock looking at the water, no one (her children, the reader or even the mother) knows for certain if she’s going to jump or not. But there’s one thing I know for sure: you’re not going to want to put this one down once you start it. You’ll feel compelled to know what happens next until you reach the very last page of the book. And that’s the mark of a good writer.
p.s. Everyone who comments this week will automatically be entered to win a signed copy of REAL LIFE & LIARS as well as a love note from each of the Debs. So comment each day to have more chances to win!