Liar, Liar: The Theory, Practice and Destructive Properties of Deception

Gary Paulsen, Author
Gary Paulsen, Random/Lamb, $12.99 (128p) ISBN 978-0-385-74001-2
Reviewed on: 01/10/2011
Release date: 03/01/2011
"I'm the best liar you'll ever meet," announces the glib narrator of this funny and touching novel. Fourteen-year-old Kevin inventively bends the truth to his advantage—or so he thinks. He convinces his partner on a school project that he suffers from "chronic, degenerative, relapsing-remitting imflammobetigoitis" so that she'll do all the work, pits his older siblings against each other, and surreptitiously asks his father's permission to go to a concert after his mother says no. When Kevin falls madly in love with a classmate and decides that he needs more free time to win her over, he fabricates elaborate excuses for skipping classes and feigns interest in student government to try to wiggle his way into her "inner circle" ("Like any good military mind, I decided that a direct assault was the wrong move"). In an affecting scene, the four-year-old who Kevin babysits awakens him to the value of telling the truth, setting him on a quest to untangle the web he has woven. Kevin's grappling with family troubles adds further emotional dimension to Paulsen's novel. Ages 8–12. (Mar.)
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