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.
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!