"All the best stories in the world are but one story in reality -- the story of escape. It is the only thing which interests us all and at all times, how to escape."
--Author Christopher Benson



Tuesday, October 19, 2010

The False Friend by Myla Goldberg Review & Giveaway

Doubleday Publishing
Available Now

Twenty years ago there was a group of highly competitive girls.  There was an intensive game of tests, rewards and punishments.  One day the girls decided to walk home, down a forbidden street.  As they were walking two of the girls, who were arguing,  veered off from the group and into the woods along the road, Celia and Djuna.  What happened next depends on which girl you ask.  One of the girls,who went into the woods, Djuna, did not come out of the woods.  Celia tells the other girls and the police she was abducted and the other girls even recall seeing the car, but Celia was lying, Djuna fell into a hole and she walked away and left her there.  Celia then blocked the entire thing from her memory.

Twenty years have passed and Celia's memory of that afternoon has been recalled.  She feels she cannot go forward in her life until she goes back and confronts her past.  When she returns to her home town and reconnects with former friends and her parents and tries to discuss the situation no one believes her.  The place where the incident happened in no longer a woods but has been developed into commercial buildings.  If Djuna really had died there they would have found her body.  Plus all the other girls remember the car that took Djuna away. Was Celia remembering things wrong?

She also learns from her former friends that she was a really terrible friend especially to one of them that believes that instead of trying to own up to what she thought happened, Celia should be apologizing to her for all the terrible things she did to her growing up.  While she was nice and sweet to some of her friends she was also a bully to others.  She is shocked when the grown up Celia remembers the child Celia and the profound effect her actions along with Djuna's had on the others for the rest of their lives.

This is a very complicated read with a lot of gray areas.  It is not really a mystery, but a look into a problem kids today are facing way too often, bullying, and the effect it can have on children for a lifetime.  This makes this book very current even as the lead character delves into her past.  It examines bullying in a way that is easy to understand for the reader although the main character doesn't seem to get it. The story very slowly reaches the climax but I was conflicted on the ending.  It felt like only part of the story was complete and left the reader wondering about the next step in all the character's lives.  I will say this was a truly interesting read and that certain parts really tease your brain into thinking about our own memories.  How exact is a person's memory? What outside influences change events in our lives from the way they actually happened to how we remember them, or do they have any effect at all? Do our minds change our memories to protect us from pain? This is definitely a psychological novel, not a thriller or a mystery but it will keep you thinking about it and even referring to it long after you read the last word.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Doubleday. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Now Thanks to Judy at Doubleday 
I have 
3 copies of this book to give away.  
Two directly from the publisher and my gently read copy.
Contest will end November 2, 2010 at Midnight CST 
U.S. Residents ONLY (Sorry Publisher Rules) 
Just fill out the form below to enter.


CMash said...

Absolutely love the new look !!!!
Thank you for the giveaway. Have my fingers crossed. Was too late and missed out on this one when it was offered.

dollycas aka Lori said...

Thanks Cheryl. This book wasn't really what I expected but is really good.

Julie P said...

Thanks for the opportunity Lori. And love the new background--makes me want to head to the beach!

Beth(bookaholicmom) said...

I love the new look of the blog! Bullying is such a problem and has been in the news so much lately, not that it hasn't always been a problem. I would love to read this. Thanks for the opportunity.

Jules@OneBookShy said...

I love the question about being in a clique. My best friend and I had each other as well as being part of several different groups. We talk about how we were lucky that we didn't really have too much peer pressure because we had each other.

Thanks for the giveaway (love the new look btw!)