Liar: A Memoir

Rob Roberge. Crown, $26 (272p) ISBN 978-0-553-44806-1
In this absorbing memoir, novelist Roberge (The Cost of Living) shifts among memories of his youth, drug-fueled episodes from his young adulthood, and recent relapses into addiction that threaten his marriage and his work as a college professor. Adding to that, he learns that he has a disease that erodes memory. The sense of urgency in Roberge’s writing is increased by his effective use of the second person: “More and more you are realizing that if you are ashamed of certain things you did when you drank and used drugs, you are ashamed of who you are with mental illness.” The rapid back-and-forth mirrors to some degree the diagnosis of bipolar disorder with rapid cycling, which he first received in the 1980s. But it is also the way Roberge is best able to try and make sense of his world and his experiences. Through the pain, he sees that “it’s the bad parts that make you realize how good the great parts are.” Agent: Ryan Harbage, Fischer-Harbage Agency. (Jan.)
Reviewed on: 12/14/2015
Release date: 02/09/2016
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