Tuesday, October 5, 2010

THE FALSE FRIEND: REVIEW AND GIVEAWAY

GIVEAWAY ENDED
THE FALSE FRIEND
BY MYLA GOLDBERG

REMINDER...ABOUT THE BOOK:

From the bestselling author of Bee Season comes an astonishingly complex psychological drama with a simple setup: two eleven-year-old girls, best friends and fierce rivals, go into the woods. Only one comes out . . .

Leaders of a mercurial clique of girls, Celia and Djuna reigned mercilessly over their three followers. One after­noon, they decided to walk home along a forbidden road. Djuna disappeared, and for twenty years Celia blocked out how it happened.

The lie Celia told to conceal her misdeed became the accepted truth: everyone assumed Djuna had been abducted, though neither she nor her abductor was ever found. Celia’s unconscious avoidance of this has meant that while she and her longtime boyfriend, Huck, are professionally successful, they’ve been unable to move forward, their relationship falling into a rut that threatens to bury them both.

Celia returns to her hometown to confess the truth, but her family and childhood friends don’t believe her. Huck wants to be supportive, but his love can’t blind him to all that contra­dicts Celia’s version of the past.

Celia’s desperate search to understand what happened to Djuna has powerful consequences. A deeply resonant and emotionally charged story, The False Friend explores the adults that children become—leading us to question the truths that we accept or reject, as well as the lies to which we succumb.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Myla Goldberg grew up in Laurel, Maryland, escaping to Ohio to attend Oberlin College. After graduating in 1993, she spent a year living in Prague, before moving to New York City. Her bestselling first novel, Bee Season, was a New York Times Notable Book for 2000, winner of the Borders New Voices Prize, and a finalist for the Hemingway Foundation/PEN award, the NYPL Young Lions award, and the Barnes & Noble Discover award. It has been adapted to film and widely translated. Her second novel Wickett’s Remedy grew out of her fascination with the 1918 influenza epidemic. Her third novel, The False Friend, concerns a woman trying to untangle a 20-year-old memory and explores the complexities of moral judgment, the fallibility of memory, and the adults that children become.

Myla’s short stories have appeared in Harpers and Failbetter, among other places. Her book reviews have appeared in the New York Times and Bookforum. In addition to her novels, she has written an essay collection and a children’s book. She sings and plays accordion and banjo in the Brooklyn art-punk band, The Walking Hellos. She writes and teaches in Brooklyn, where she lives with her husband Jason Little and their two daughters.

MY REVIEW:

Myla Goldberg, best selling author of BEE SEASON, is back with another surprising novel that draws you in slowly, if not uncertainly, but then thankfully and swiftly picks up steam. THE FALSE FRIEND is the story of Celia Durst who returns home at the age of 32 to finally rectify a tragic mistake she made when she was eleven years old and deeply immersed in her gal pal clique. That premise alone illustrates why THE FALSE FRIEND seemed like a story I would really relish only to find out that it was more like a mildly tempting aroma for the longest time until the full flavor of the author’s talent finally took hold of me.

The story opened with Celia returning home to confess to a lie she had told twenty years earlier when she was part of a group of girls who were just getting good at bullying others in fifth grade when tragedy struck. Celia had met Djuna, who was instantly a replacement for Celia’s best friend, and in a very realistic description of eleven year old girls, showed how mean and catty they can be. Djuna and Celia became such close friends that others wanted to emulate them and become part of their inner circle. The power that they held over their peers was palpable and quite realistic. However, during an argument between the two, Djuna goes missing and rather than tell the truth about leaving her when she fell  in a hole as they walked in the woods, Celia told everyone she got in a car with a strange man. People believed her and the story stuck. In too deep, Celia never could come out with the truth of Djuna falling and Celia abandoning her. Now as an adult, Celia had to put things right at least with those closest to the incident. It took almost half the book to get to this point in the story and that was the part that just moved too slowly for me and I almost gave up but something about Goldberg’s wonderful writing kept me going and am I glad now that I did!

Once THE FALSE FRIEND hit that certain point in the story, it became a book I couldn’t put down. By the time I had finished and all the twists and turns had been revealed, all I could think about was having this book read by my book club so I could discuss what really went on in this story and who did what and why, with others who read the book. Celia and her friends were much more interesting to me at this point and even her love interest Huck made amends in certain ways that made me see him as the interesting and good character Goldberg had made him out to be. Just as life isn’t always what it appears to be, neither was this book for me. 


I contend as always, that my own mood or situation could have made the first part drag a bit but there was no hiding the fact that THE FALSE FRIEND finished in a way that made me long for discussion of this story. Interpretation of an author’s hard work and the desire to talk about it, I have been told by several authors, is one thing that makes them happy when they complete their work. I hope that Ms. Goldberg feels that way about my interpretation of her story and hope you all will read and judge for yourselves but my bet is that you will wind up liking this one a WHOLE lot like I did.

GIVEAWAY

THANKS TO ADRIENNE AND THE GREAT
FOLKS AT RANDOM HOUSE, I HAVE TEN
COPIES OF "THE FALSE FRIEND" TO
GIVE TO TEN LUCKY READERS!


--U.S. RESIDENTS ONLY
--NO P. O. BOXES
---INCLUDE YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS
IN CASE YOU WIN!
--ALL COMMENTS MUST BE SEPARATE TO
COUNT AS MORE THAN ONE!

HOW TO ENTER:

+1 ENTRY:
COMMENT ON SOMETHING YOU FOUND INTERESTING ABOUT "THE FALSE FRIEND" THAT WOULD MAKE YOU WANT TO WIN ONE OF THE TEN COPIES

+1 MORE ENTRY:
BLOG OR TWEET ABOUT THIS GIVEAWAY AND LEAVE A LINK I CAN FOLLOW IN THE ENTRY


+1 MORE ENTRY: COMMENT ON HOW YOU FOLLOW MY BLOG. IF YOU FOLLOW MORE THAN ONE WAY, YOU MAY COMMENT MORE THAN ONCE AND EARN EXTRA ENTRIES.

WATCH FOR MY INTERVIEW WITH MYLA GOLDBERG TOMORROW AND MORE CHANCES TO ENTER TO WIN ONE OF THE TEN COPIES I AM GIVING AWAY!

GIVEAWAY ENDS
6 PM, EST,
OCTOBER 20!
GOOD LUCK

110 comments:

debbie said...

I liked the premise, the past comes back to haunt us. I think it is interesting, you either deal with what you do now, or later. I would like to read the book.
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DarcyO said...

Wow! What a terrible secret to have to live with. I would love to read this to find out more. Thanks for the chance.

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DarcyO said...

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Anonymous said...

This book seems to be almost Freudian to me because of main character's repressed memories that are preventing her from moving forward. Makes it very interesting so I would love to read this book.

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Anonymous said...

Check out this giveaway of 'The False Friend' http://bookinwithbingo.blogspot.com/
half a minute ago via web

I tweeted.

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Anonymous said...

I follow this blog with GFC.


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Anonymous said...

I also follow with FB.

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Anonymous said...

Sorry, It looks like I double clicked on the comment about GFC, please disregard one of them.

I now follow on Twitter!!!

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amandawk said...

The books premise sounds very interesting and like something I would enjoy.
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Steve Capell said...

Fantastic ... This book does sound like a book with a lot of twists and turns. I love mystery novels so with out any other fan fare I throw my name in the silk hat for a chance to win one of the ten. Thanks for hosting this giveaway!

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rubynreba said...

Love to read about this terrible secret she kept all those years!
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petite said...

I am a follower. rojosho(at)hotmail(dot)com

petite said...

I find this story captivating and would enjoy this book greatly. rojosho(at)hotmail(dot)com

traveler said...

This intriguing and unique story is enthralling and special. thanks. saubleb(at)gmail(dot)com

traveler said...

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Teresa said...

I really want to read this one. I'm interested in the idea that things we do/experience as children can deeply affect us as adults.

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Colleen Turner said...

I love the idea that this girl-turned-woman comes back to face the truth she has been hiding and no one believes her. She must have done a convincing job of hiding the truth all these years, and I love the concept of others having reconciled themselves to the originally told "truth" and refusing to be able to change. I am interested to see where this book might go.
Thanks,
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Colleen Turner said...

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Anonymous said...

I love psychological story lines. This book sounds intriguing -- mysterious disappearances, secrets,lies.

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Melanie L said...

I would love to read this to find out why Celia chose to do what she did and then lied about it, and also why no one will believe her about what really happened. It will be interesting to find out how she deals with her regret and guilt.
peacelily_2006(at)yahoo(dot)com

Melanie L said...

I follow on GFC. (Melanie L)
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Melanie L said...

I subscribe with Google Reader.
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Melanie L said...

I subscribe with Google Reader.
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Margie said...

Psychological dramas are always intriguing. Also interesting is that the lies children tell in their youth can come back to haunt them.
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justpeachy36 said...

I always like books about deep dark secrets and this one looks like a good one.

sign me up for the giveaway.

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I am a GFC follower and an e-mail subscriber.

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Shooting Stars Mag said...

i love that it deals with friends you had in the past. always interesting.

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Ruthie said...

I think this would be a great choice for my book club. Please enter me, thanks.

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I follow you on Facebook.

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holdenj said...

I think the twist in the story, how what she wants to be the memory becomes accpeted as real is interesting. It looks good!
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Tabby Lewis said...

This sounds like a good book. I love the idea behind it. That Celcia blocks out what happened to Djuna, only to remember later and no one believes her when she tells them. It makes me want to read and find out what did happened to Djuna.

Thanks for the chance!

tabbylewis at hotmail.com

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gcpeach17 said...

I am at a loss for words on this one since I agree with the previous comments. But, the more I think about it what she remembers may not be the whole truth either. I would love to read this book! It has me thinking already about what really did happen or if we will ever really know. The mind is a strange bird.

gcpeach17 at aol dot com

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I am an old follower on Google Reader

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Linda Kish said...

I like that she came back to tell the truth about what happened but I see why they wouldn't believe her now. I want to see how this comes out.

lkish77123 at gmail dot com

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Christy said...

I'm intrigued by the premise of the book because it deals with adolescents and dangerous secrets. Can't wait to read it.

christy dot seifert at yahoo dot com.

g.g. said...

I would like to read this to see how she handles the secret she has to live with

anjamie4 AT gmail DOT com

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bison61 said...

the statement Djuna disappeared, and for twenty years Celia blocked out how it happened. that got my interest

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Tore said...

I am a follower and email subscriber. Please enter me in contest. Sounds like a really good book. Tore923@aol.com

Pamela Keener said...

What an intriguing storyline. I would love to win this giveaway.
Love & Hugs,
Pam
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I am an e-mail subscriber to your blog.
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I like Bookin w/Bingo on FB/Pam Keener
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hendy said...

I enjoyed Bee Season so I'm sure this book will be great too, the idea of having such young characters involved in a psychological game/horror.
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hendy said...

Tweeted this giveaway
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Benita said...

What I like, as you state in your review, is that the book draws you in slowly. A good book that slowly unfolds is very comforting to me.

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Margie said...

+5 Swag
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Laura H. said...

Wow! What an intriguing premise for a story! I would like to win this book so I can find out what happened to Djuna. I LOVE "palpable" books!!

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Laura H. said...

Tweeted giveaway: http://twitter.com/#!/MamaHendo3/status/27704836574

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I am a FB follower. (laura grassie henderson)

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minishoes1 said...

I like a book with twists and turns! Also,I want to find out how someone could keep a secret like that and for so long. This is my kind of book! Thanks! jacquecurl1(at)gmail(dot)com

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allisonsbj3 said...

I love psychological drama books! This sounds really interesting.

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Nancye said...

I am eager to learn what Celia's secret is and how she does back in town.

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Bethie said...

That she went back to her hometown to tell the truth and no one believed her sounds interesting. I would love to win this. Thanks for the giveaway.

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