Thursday, January 16, 2014

Review: The First True Lie by Marina Mander

Determined not to become a full orphan, Luca decides that his mother's decaying body is best kept secret. The First True Lie by Marina Mander takes on an emotional roller-coaster with this heartbreaking yet inspiring novel. Through Luca's narrative, we come to understand why Luca chooses not to tell the world he is no longer only missing a father, but a mother as well. 

The thing I can't shake about The First True Lie is how beautifully written it is. Often times I wonder how a child could be so insightful and true. Luca warns readers that it's been said that he's sensitive. He often finds his self sad, just like his mother, but knows he can't be too sad or else the sadness will drown the both of them. She tells him she suffers from loneliness. Luca would love to just be normal. To have a father that hasn't disappeared into the void leaving him half an orphan. Or to have a mother that loved him enough to stick around. It almost choked me up thinking a child could ever feel the guilt of not being good enough to make their parent want to stay.

The tension in The First True Lie is thick enough to cut with a knife. Between moments of Luca reminiscing about life before his mother just never woke up again or other childhood thoughts, there is a huge sense of loss. What would happen to their cat Blue? Cats aren't allowed in an orphanage. What happens to his childhood? He's already proven he can endure life as a single adult. He could lose his home, his friends, and his neighborhood just by letting the world in on his secret. In the midst of all these potential losses, he realizes that he can find a new life. He can become whoever he wants to be.

It's clear from page one that Luca will be a character who will forever be imprinted on the minds of all who read this novel. He's intelligent, observant, responsible, and good enough to stay alive for. There are moments of pure brilliance in this text that is often found only in the minds of children uncomplicated by "the real world". I hope Mander completes his story since The First True Lie feels so incomplete.  ****

Copy provided by Crown Publishing via Netgalley

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