Monday, June 20, 2011

LIAR, LIAR by Gary Paulsen

I always have fun reading Gary Paulsen books, and LIAR, LIAR didn't disappoint.  We all know those little white lies and those times when the whole truth and nothing but the truth just doesn't suit our purposes.  Well, Kevin is here to set everyone straight on the matter of lies.

Kevin considers himself somewhat of an expert on telling less than the truth.  Falsehoods have always come easily to him, and they have served him well.   This time he begins a series of whoppers when he attempts to get out of a partner project in one of his classes.  With inspiration from his hypochondriac friend, he invents a nasty but not contagious illness to garner sympathy from his project partner, Katie.  He's counting on the fact that she would rather work alone and that she is perfectly capable of doing so.  The lie appears to be quite successful because she not only is an excellent organizer and researcher, but she is also fascinated by the mysterious disease that has supposedly stricken her classmate.  She is eager to jump right in on the project and delegate only minor portions to the ailing Kevin.

From there Kevin's lies simply multiply.  Soon he is easily skipping class to pursue the girl of his dreams, taking over the financial problems of his Auntie Buzz, and pitting one parent against the other to gain permission to attend a weekend-long concert featuring the Buket o' Puke 'n Snot alternative rock band.  What Kevin didn't count on was his family life crumbling and his friends revolting.  His lies are put to the test, and the final grade is an F.

Gary Paulsen combines his amazing humor with an equally amazing understanding of what goes on in the mind of the typical middle school adolescent.  Kevin gets involved in all the difficulties of those struggling to make good choices and grow up, but at the same time have as much fun as is humanly possible.  Through his experiences, Kevin learns a number of lessons about the cost of lies and freely shares them with those willing to listen.  

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