Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Tuesday Books for Writers! Real Life & Liars by Kristina Riggle

I read Kristina Riggle's Real Life & Liars over labor day weekend. After biking from Brooklyn to Piermont and back again, I couldn't wait to get off of my bike each time and get back into this book. It's been a while since I've had an 'I absolutely CAN NOT put down this book' moment. It had also been quite a while since I've read a book that was similar in tone and style to my own works in progress. I'm not flattering myself. Obviously, this book and its author are miles and miles away from where I currently tread. But it felt like literary fiction. It wasn't overly melodramatic. There were no Jimmy Choo's involved. And, yet, it was written for a female audience. I guess it's what people are calling 'upmarket' women's fiction, a niche I have, for selfish reasons, been all to eager to find.

But I digress...

This book is essentially a family saga. It takes place over two intense days. Mirabelle Zielinksi is about to celebrate thirty years of marriage, while she harbors a terrible secret about her medical health and her three children deal with crises of their own. Which, of course, all come to head at the much anticipated anniversary party.

I think that part of the reason I adored this book is because it reads like a play. For the most part, the characters don't navigate very far. And most of the action takes place through dialogue. I'll sit and watch a play like this any day.

The rest of the action takes place through a lot of internal voice. And the reason I think writers should read this book is because Mirabelle and all three children each have a voice in this book. Did you catch that? Four points of view. That's four points of view. Did. you. catch. that.

My mouth nearly fell open with how well it was executed. I would tremble in fear, probably curl up on the floor and cry while trying to write four multiple points of view. It seems to me Riggle took it all in stride and probably went to get a pedicure instead. At least, that's how effortless it looked. Very impressive. I hope you'll read it.


  1. Wow. You're becoming my go-to gal for book recs. I heard about this one on the Backspace forum, and your review makes me see it's got to be bumped to the top of the TBR list.

  2. i will! thanks for the recommendation!

  3. I've heard great things about Kristina Riggle, and this definitely sounds like a novel I would enjoy -- especially since you couldn't put it down! That's how I know when a book is phenomenal: when I'm thinking about it even when it's not in my hands. And waiting to return to it. Awesome!