Monday, October 10, 2011

The False Friend

I am both dressed for Halloween and my review of The False Friend.
Transparent blouse - Express, Orange cami underneath - thrifted, Shorts - Forever 21, Black cardi boots - Uggs
I decorated the house during the morning, and was pleased to see my results once the sun went down.
Including the creepy mummy I worked on Saturday.
And the Grim Reaper on the top step.
Then I ran to the mall with Mom, resulting in these end-of-day frizzy hair pictures.
Details, details.
The day also brought the end of The False Friend by Myla Goldberg. I gave it 4/5 stars, but apparently I'm in the minority.

And I feel crazy because I liked this book, and I don't understand why other people don't like this book. Tonight at book club, all I heard was, "I found it confusing," "It was overwritten," "I felt like I was preparing for the SATs," "I didn't get why the author did this and that," "Did anybody like this?!" And just quickly looking through other people's reviews on Goodreads, I'm seeing some of the same comments.

This book is described as "an astonishingly complex psychological drama" and "[d]eeply resonant and emotionally charged, [it] explores the adults that children become--leading us to question the truths that we accept or reject, and the lies to which we succumb." I found it to be just that, and I found it satisfying.

It seems that a lot of people are expecting more of a psychological thriller. It's true that a young girl goes missing, with only her 11-year-old friends as witnesses. But now the young girls are in their early 30s, and our main character Celia is dealing with the emotional fallout still, mainly because she didn't deal with it as she probably should have years ago. Celia is in an unhappy relationship, one that is making her question herself, relationships, commitment, loyalty, etc., so it's no surprise to me that *bam* she's hit with memories of her missing friend, somebody she is convinced dropped into a hole in the forest (literally), and who she left behind, fabricating a story of abduction instead of saving her. She goes home, a depressed upstate New York town (one that I am very familiar with--Hey, Lupo's!) to confront her parents, her old friends, and the missing friend's mother. The snapshots of the town, her friends...they show the changes that happen. Yeah, maybe it's not expected that a town rich off of shoes and computers will become depressed economically, maybe it's not expected that the girls you grew up with would become...what they became (not giving that away!), but this is life. I didn't find it confusing or contrived or strange. That's life. Do we not all have friends that went down a completely unexpected path? Have you yourself never gone down an unexpected path? Yeah, Celia's a bit blank as a character, but that makes it all the easier to become her as you read this, to feel surprised at her interactions with people then versus now, to make you question your own memories and decisions, your own childhood and adult life.

The book was well-written, parts of it I found to be haunting, even darn chilling, and I thought Myla Goldberg nailed the intense relationships we have as children, and the pressures and bullying that can occur, even amongst good children.


  1. I'm impressed by your pumpkin carving skills! And at first glance, I thought we had the same pair of shorts, but I like the button detailing on yours better!

  2. Thanks, Jane! I have this vision of carving a couple of pumpkins every year until my porch and yard are overflowing.

    Don't you just love how shorts are everywhere again, and even acceptable for fall when worn with boots?

  3. I've been looking for a pair of cute dress shorts like these, last pair I bought somehow didn't fit right once home.

  4. They're everywhere now--Express, Forever 21, H&M, American Eagle. We can definitely find some price-friendly ones!