Tuesday, May 31, 2005

The Liars' Club

On my way home from Boston last weekend, I stopped at "Traveler Books and Food", on I-84, just inside the CT/MA border. It looks as if it has been there longer than 84, and I was curious. Just as it looks from the highway, it's like stepping back in time, to a traveler's diner, but the walls are covered with bookshelves. The deal is that you eat, and then you get to take a free book. I didn't eat (I'd had ice cream for breakfast already), but I browsed through the used book store for about an hour. My great triumphs from that are All About Prehistoric Cave Men and All About Strange Beasts of the Past. I haven't read them yet, but I did notice that in the introduction to "Prehistoric Cave Men", the author makes a point of distinguishing prehistoric cave men from present-day cave men.

I also picked up The Liars' Club, which I read to, in, and from the RNA meeting in Banff. The book is billed as a memoir, focusing on two horrific years in the author's childhood. However, it sounds like the rest of her childhood probably wasn't much less horrific than those two years.

The title comes from one of her more positive memories. Her father would take her with him to a bar(?), where he and his buddies would drink, play pool, and tell tall tales, hence "The Liars' Club". Her father was the greatest liar, and told stories such as the night his father hung himself: one night the old man was angry and stomping around on the roof for some reason, and stomped a hole in the roof. He fell straight through, but his chin caught in the hole, so only his head and his Stetson hat stuck out the top, his body hanging inside the house. (His father was, in fact, still alive.)

I thought I must be a very good reader, when I realized that the father's Liars' Club was being used as the title to imply that the entire memoir was actually fiction. It's not that the stories told were unbelievable (like in Big Fish, which is a great movie, except the present-day weepy stuff), but the title makes you consider that the perspective is from an 8-year-old girl, and maybe things didn't happen quite like they sound.

But yeah, good book. Worth a read.

1 comment:

  1. 1) You're back! Hooray!

    2) Avi took me to that diner/bookstore a couple of times on the way to/from New York. It's a wonderful place!

    3) I think The Liar's Club might have been my intro to the "my childhood/entire existence was/is a giant pit of despair, but I can still be snarky about it" genre. I really enjoyed it.