(Author: Rachel Stuhler + (Year: 2015) + (Goodreads)
To be honest, I have very mixed feelings about this book. There were many things I liked about it, but there were also many things that I didn’t or didn’t want to.
Judging by the cover, I thought Absolutely True Lies was going to be a romance/chick-lit. I don’t think it’s either of those things. Yes, there are elements of both, but that’s not all there is to this book. On the contrary, despite its sugary look, I found this book somewhat thought-provoking, it’s clearly so if you but look under the events and think about their actual meaning.
Absolutely True Lies tells the story of a failed journalist who is hired to ghost-write the autobiography of a teen starlet, only to realize that the glamorous life is not at all what it seems to be from the outside.
As far as I see it, this entire novel is comprised of three different stories/levels: 1. Holly as a person, 2. Holly’s love life, 3. Daisy’s personality and lifestyle.
1. Holly is a somewhat funny narrator, even though most of the humor comes from her lack of luck, skills and the unfortunate events which happen to her. At times she is quite sarcastic and at others she is whiny and harder to like. Overall, I think Holly is a very ambiguous character. The author certainly wants to make you like her and feel like she’s just another normal person, someone you can identify with. She is certainly not a character knowingly written as sometimes hard to like. I can see why people can find her funny and even charming as a person, but I want to shed light on some of the reasons because of which I had problems liking her.
– She is highly self pitying. She moans and cries about how hard and bad her life is and how bad everyone is treating her. But it’s actually she who acts strange and makes it hard for people to want to help her. She goes on and on about what she doesn’t like about herself and about her life, but does ABSOLUTELY NOTHING, I mean NOTHING, to change it. She lets everyone walk all over her and doesn’t say a word, only to curse them and cry about it to her friends later.
– She is such a lazy slob it’s sometimes revolting. The character actually revels in explaining how filthy she is, how long it has been since she last took a shower, how many days it has taken since she hasn’t been out of bed, not to mention the argument she has with her boyfriend in which he tells her not to leave her dirty clothes all over his apartment and she is so proud of herself for proving that she doesn’t care that her clothes from three days ago are crumpled in a corner in his apartment. She also goes on and on about how she wants to loose a couple of pounds and yet she keeps on eating enough to feed the entire population of China.
Also she does her job so sloppily, she explains how she hasn’t done a thing more than what has been required of her for her job, she has constantly declined job opportunities, only to later moan about how poor she is, and when she is hired to write Daisy’s book, all she does is think about guys and walk around telling everyone who’d listen about how she’s been cheated out of her salary, when she has done nothing to deserve it. She is a total underachiever and that’s obvious by the fact that the only success she has in her career is mostly due to chance and luck. As she puts it very clearly herself, she lives in an arrested development and even has the nerve to complain about it, despite it being her own doing.
“I was twenty-five years old and I didn’t own an iron or a fork. I was living in some state of arrested development, and only when everything started to shift under my feet did I finally see my life for what it was. It was depressing as hell.”
2. Holly’s love life. Despite everything I said above, there were moments when I liked Holly as a person, as I already said. But from the way the other characters, as well as she herself, describe her, she is supposed to be quite unattractive. Yet she seems like quite the guy-magnet. I don’t see how it’s possible for two wildly attractive and successful men to fall for a woman who everyone describes as overweight, badly dressed and unkempt, but if you say it’s possible… I’m not a fan of eugenics or something like that, but I do think that people should take care of their appearance, if not for the world, at least so that they themselves feel a bit better.
Also, to mention the fact that the two main males, Vaughn and Ben, were somewhat interchangeable, even though they are supposedly very different from one another. They sort of treated her similarly, accept for the end, and they were acting somewhat similarly, despite Holly trying to prove that that’s not true.
3. Daisy. In Daisy’s entire story I saw many things that are wrong about our society. I really don’t want to think that the celebrities everyone is looking up to are these damaged junkie narcissists, but that’s probably exactly what they are. But it’s not just their personalities that make me question the values of our world, it’s the way they manipulate the opinion of people and also just how easy it is for society to be manipulated. Just how easy it is for people to love and hate and obsess with a person they don’t know and to change their opinion about that person. I fear that we are puppets to celebrities and their plots to win more fame and money as much as we are puppets to governments and politicians. And this “ruling class” of rich assholes uses us like a herd of sheep to make themselves feel better, to start feuds with other celebrities, get richer and destroy other people’s lives. Imagine what dull and naive creatures we are if we allow ourselves to be influenced by the likes of the Kardashians, Miley Cyrus, Justin Bieber and that whole lot, to waste our money on magazines, bags, pens and whatever they sell with their faces on it, to use our precious lives to stalk them on the internet, to follow them on social media, to discuss their fake lives and to keep them rich and famous.
And here are some of the Daisy’s of our world, you know – the ruined ones.
Fame, people. Everybody wants it, do you?