Friday, January 11, 2008

The Liar's Diary-Patry Francis

The Liar's Diary
Patry Francis
Dutton, Feb 2008, $14.00
ISBN: 9780452289154

Forty something violinist and composer Ali Mather joins the staff of Bridgeway High School as a music teacher. From her first enthusiastic good morning, the newcomer brings a zest for life as well as the need to be the star whenever she is not alone. Ali lists her marital status as separated. The students are also caught up with this dynamo when she initially tells them to call her Ali, but after a visit to the principal’s office she winks and says make that MRS. MATHER.

Observing Ali’s antics is thirtyish school secretary Jeanne Cross, a plain looking reticent woman married to a hunk orthopedic surgeon; their teenage son overweight, dyslexic Jamie attends the school. Surprisingly opposites Jane and Ali become friends as the newcomer sleeps with much younger shop teacher Brian Shagaury and car dealer Jack Butterfield. Ali keeps a detailed diary that includes her belief that someone is stalking her including entering her home; soon her lust for life in the spotlight clashes with Jeanne’s trinity of mother, wife, secretary.

Told from Jeanne’s perceptive, THE LAIR’S DIARY is a fascinating psychological character study that looks deep into the souls of the two female friends and to a lesser degree their family members. Jeanne’s story telling is perfect for the tale as she adds no energy, fitting her personality. Although there are seemingly important moments that get shorted because of the concept of having Jeanne tell the story in her monotonous tone, readers will enjoy this psychological look at opposites converging at a point of no return to what was before.

Harriet Klausner

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