The First True Lie

The First True Lie: A Novel

The Book

The First True Lie by Marina Mander has an amazing Synopsis, so I’ll just quote it here,

“Meet Luca, a curious young boy living with his [single] mother… Luca keeps to himself, his cat, Blue, and his words–his favorite toys. One February morning his mom doesn’t wake up to bring him to school, so Luca … decides to pretend to the world that his mom is still alive.”

Why I Picked it Up

This is an AWESOME premise. I’m a huge fan of situational and dramatic irony, so I was immediately excited to read this book. It seems like a perfect blend of morbidly humorous and heartfelt with a literary bent.
It was released yesterday and I hurriedly downloaded the sample.

What I Liked About It

It was apparently translated from its native Italian and, while it does show, it’s a competent translation which flows with Mander’s voice, which is unique and lovely. The whole time I was reading I was thinking, ‘we all know a kid like this narrator–too smart for his own good.’ Hell, I was that kid. The subject matter is interesting and light in tone, enough to keep you reading.
If this section seems a little light to you, well…

What Could Be Better

Main problem: This sample is too damned short–there’s no hook. After about ten pages of nice prose and apt childhood musings it ends, and in the middle of a freaking line of dialogue no less.
The narrative stops just after our MC/Narrator’s fear of being an orphan is elucidated. Really there’s not enough to critique, but those of you who’ve read my blog before know I have a rule:
Before the sample ends, expose the first plot point.

This is a 'not enough golds' situation.

This is a ‘not enough golds’ situation.

You have to make your readers feel a NEED to read on and find out what is next. What we have so far could just be an essay on the perils of childhood in a single parent household.
There’s nothing at stake.

RESULT: I’m kind of interested?

Yeah, I’m still interested to read this book, but here’s the thing about our fast-paced, work-a-day, hyphenate-everything world. Your book has competition. MAJOR competition–reading takes time and effort and, while an enjoyable necessity, there are easier things for a tired man, who is behind in ALL of his personal and professional projects, to do.
Your sample should make me feel like I have NO CHOICE but to buy your book and read further. The First True Lie didn’t quite do that.
So we’ll see if I get curious enough to pick it up again. If I finish it, I’ll do a follow up!

Have you checked out The First True Lie? Tell me about it! And if you need some music for reading, here’s the author’s playlist on Largehearted Boy!


What do you think? Tell me your opinions in a comment.

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