LIAR by Winifred Morris


Age Range: 12 & up
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 Despite a seemingly vindictive probation officer, a 14-year- old juvenile delinquent makes a fresh start with his grandparents in this realistic, swiftly paced novel. Alex, 14, is the product of a terrible upbringing--his mother is an inveterate liar and a drifter who has never hesitated to strike him. Throughout the story that he narrates, Alex offers readers glimpses of his former life, traveling from city to city, where his mother ``entertained'' a string of boyfriends who were no more eager to see a small boy in the apartment than Alex was to see them. Frequently locked out of the house, he began to hang around in video arcades or parks where he eventually ended up in a fight, resulting in criminal charges against him. The book opens as Alex arrives at his grandparents' farm. Unlike the protagonist in Garland's Letters From the Mountain (see review, above), Alex is a boy with heart who might just overcome his poisonous past. Morris (The Future of Yen-Tzu, 1992, etc.) creates suspense by contrasting the influence of the people who show Alex kindness with the forces tempting him to dangerous behavior. The natural setting is a healing influence for the boy, who loves Western novels and unrealistically dreams of his absentee father coming to rescue him on a horse. The truth is finer than dreams, though; Alex, unfairly tested and tried, realizes that even under duress he can make the right choices for himself. (Fiction. 12+)

Pub Date: Nov. 1st, 1996
ISBN: 0-8027-8461-5
Page count: 161pp
Publisher: Walker
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15th, 1996