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Look Inside | Reading Guide
Aug 23, 2011
| ISBN 9780307390707
Oct 05, 2010
| ISBN 9780385533638
Oct 05, 2010
| 379 Minutes
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Aug 23, 2011 | ISBN 9780307390707
Oct 05, 2010 | ISBN 9780385533638
Oct 05, 2010 | ISBN 9780307751294
Twenty years after Celia’s best friend, Djuna, went missing, memories of that terrible day come rushing back—including the lie Celia remembers having told to conceal her role in Djuna’s disappearance. But when Celia returns to her hometown to confess the truth, her family and childhood friends recall that day very differently. As Celia learns more about what may or may not have happened, she becomes increasingly uncertain whom she should trust. In The False Friend, Myla Goldberg—bestselling author of Bee Season—brilliantly explores the cruelty of children, the unreliability of memory, and the unpredictable forces that shape our adult selves.
From the bestselling author of Bee Season comes an astonishingly complex psychological drama with a simple setup: two eleven-year-old girls, best friends and fierce rivals, go into the woods. Only one comes out . . . Leaders of a mercurial clique of girls, Celia and Djuna reigned mercilessly over their three followers. One afternoon, they decided to walk home along a forbidden road. Djuna disappeared, and for twenty years Celia blocked out how it happened. The lie Celia told to conceal her misdeed became the accepted truth: everyone assumed Djuna had been abducted, though neither she nor her abductor was ever found. Celia’s unconscious avoidance of this has meant that while she and her longtime boyfriend, Huck, are professionally successful, they’ve been unable to move forward, their relationship falling into a rut that threatens to bury them both. Celia returns to her hometown to confess the truth, but her family and childhood friends don’t believe her. Huck wants to be supportive, but his love can’t blind him to all that contradicts Celia’s version of the past. Celia’s desperate search to understand what happened to Djuna has powerful consequences. A deeply resonant and emotionally charged story, The False Friend explores the adults that children become—leading us to question the truths that we accept or reject, as well as the lies to which we succumb.
Myla Goldberg is the author of several books, including The False Friend, Wickett’s Remedy, and the bestselling, critically acclaimed Bee Season, which was widely translated and adapted to film. She lives in Brooklyn, New York.
“Haunting. . . . A compelling exploration of the fallibility of memory, explored through richly drawn characters.”—San Francisco Chronicle “Riveting.”—Richard Russo, author of That Old Cape Magic“Suspenseful and smart. . . . A timely take on the fraught emotional terrain of American schoolgirls.”—People“Fascinating and fresh. . . . Written with psychological shrewdness, generosity and a sure hand.”—The Washington Post“Goldberg’s intelligence and psychological acuity are evident on every page. . . . She’s a smart, witty, highly observant writer, and in her latest, the author’s prose is as exceptional as ever.”—The Dallas Morning News “Cinematically weaving together Celia’s uneasy present with her disturbing past, Goldberg explores the intensity and volatility of friendships between young girls as well as the slipperiness of fidelity and memory.”—The Village Voice “Personal and authentic. . . . Deep and emotionally complex. . . . Goldberg’s portrayal of Celia and Djuna’s friendship is insightful and powerfully resonant.”—Associated Press “Goldberg does a scarily fine job describing the mean dynamic in a clique of five 11-year-olds. . . . Tense and marvelous.”—Entertainment Weekly “There is nothing as obsessive and cruel as the intimate friendships of young girls. Myla Goldberg’s magnificent new novel mines this terrifying but exhilarating territory with precision, insight, and honesty.”—Ayelet Waldman, author of Red Hook Road and Bad Mother “Wondrous. . . . A constantly surprising story. . . . Goldberg draws readers into a world in which people don’t have single, lifelong identities. They morph.”—The Asheville Citizen-Times (North Carolina) “Captivating. . . . Pitch perfect. . . . An irresistible story of a woman trying to reconcile her ever-warping memories, memories that ultimately are proven to be the most ‘False Friend’ of all.”—Chattanooga Times Free Press (Tennessee) “Celia’s journey causes us to examine the impact of our words and deeds, the reliability of our memories, and how these things shape the people we ultimately grow to be.”—Bay City Times (Michigan) “The term mean girls is elevated to a new level in Goldberg’s moody novel. . . . This is a layered, understated novel about the complex, ambiguous nature of memory and its effect on the dynamics of relationships. Great fodder for reading groups.”—Library Journal (starred review)
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