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A Version of the Truth

3.25 of 5 stars 3.25  ·  rating details  ·  942 ratings  ·  174 reviews
From the critically acclaimed authors of the #1 Los Angeles Times bestseller Literacy and Longing in L.A. comes the ultimate story for late bloomers of every exotic shade. And a quirky young heroine with a knack for reinvention and a flair for the unexpected no reader will ever forget.

Thirty, newly single, and desperately in need of a paycheck, inveterate bird-watcher Cass
Paperback, 322 pages
Published January 27th 2009 by Bantam Discovery (first published January 1st 2007)
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I love the main character, Cassie. She has a Bridget Jones quality that is very endearing.

There is a great quote on page 224 that I just love. "You go to a party or whatever, and you spend the whole night zeroing in on the woman in red, the blonde in the corner, the girl with the big laugh, and then, as you are leaving, you see someone out of the corner of your eye, her hair glinting in the light, her long neck tilted slightly as she listens intently to the person next to her. And you know she'
I liked this book but I was disappointed that it wasn't the book I thought it was going to be.

I read all of the praise on the back cover and thought it sounded like a book I would like. Halfway through reading it (and wondering why it didn't seem anything like what I expected) I checked out the back cover again, only to realize that the praise was for a different book by the same authors.

On the cover, Nature is quoted: "It's The Devil Wears Prada meets Walden Pond," but I don't think that does this book justice.

For one thing, there is gorgeous language. Example: She's talking about migrating Monarch butterflies. "There they are -- swirling in the air like escaping bits of fragmented color from a kaleidoscope." The book is full of luscious laguage andc imagery like this.

Second, many of the author's observations are of significantly greater depth than any character in The Devil W
I absolutely loved this! Cassie, a 30 year old widow has moved back in with her hippie mom and is trying to find a new way in life. She's not sad about her ex....he was a jerk who did a number on her self esteem. She needs to find her strength, confidence, and a new way of seeing herself, and becoming who she wants to be. She has a couple of strikes against her....she's dyslexic, and doesn't have college degree, but she's smart and has a passion for nature, especially birds. In fact her pet is a ...more
“You are what you pretend to be.” -- Kurt Vonnegut Jr.

Ever wish you could somehow reinvent yourself? Ever tell a lie that you then couldn’t figure out how to reverse? Ever wish you could just be someone else for a while?

Well, our friend Cassie (and she does come to feel like a friend) does that almost accidentally. She finds herself at the beginning of the book a young but relieved widow who needs a job. She is dyslexic, has very little self confidence, no college degree, and her only real work
"A Version of the Truth" by Jennifer Kaufman and Karen Mack was very refreshing...a real page-turner!!! This was definitely one of those novels that just makes you feel good all know, makes you want to laugh and cry at the same time. Reading it makes you feel awesome about who you are, but then makes you want to go out and be a better you...the main character Cassie can be a go-getter, but she limits and holds herself back because she feels like she's just not good enough...not w/o th ...more
Okay, I seriously LOVED this book. I think the main character was me (well except for the part where she lied on her resume and was a bit dyslexic). I loved the way she put into words the peace and just utter contentment she got from being outside in the woods (or marsh/swamp, mountains, etc.) alone with nature. I mean that wasn't a huge part of the book, but when it came up, i was always like "yes! thats it exactly!" I'd quote some of my favorite parts here, but that would be cheesy. I'll just ...more
Format: Audiobook

Pretty good. The tone was slightly childish or immature for the main character's age. It took me about 1/4 of the book to ignore this affectation but eventually adapted.

Thoughts on plot and writing:
The storyline was believable, the plot coherent and the characters did not make me roll my eyes (due to their unlikely stupidity or erratic choices). Kudos to Kaufman as unrealism seems to be the plat du jour.

How I liked the story:
I found myself interested in Cassie thanks
Readers beware! If you don't like a lot of swear words in your books, DON'T bother with this one! Unlikable characters make up this ridiculous mess of a story involving Cassie, a high school dropout, nature lover and recent widow.
Desperate for a job, she lies on a job application and lands a position at a prestigious University. I found Cassie to be an incredibly self-centered person who found fault with everyone she encountered. There were several times during the course of my reading that I wa
Jennifer Duke McDonald
This was a fun book. I really cheered for Cassie as she struggled to get a job without a college education. There were parts I could have done without, but overall it was a quick and fun read.
Diane Zimmerman
Funny and light, this book takes you through the life of a young widow who reinvents herself with unexpected consequences.
I was disappointed. The story was good, too much profanity for a book described as intelligent chick lit.
Maybe this would have been more enjoyable if I liked nature, or have a deep love for animals, or lying...
"Chick lit," but surprisingly intelligent, with depth and personality. This is no Bridget Jones.
I must be in a hatin' mood this month because the last three reviews I've done haven't been kind. This will be no exception. First, I didn’t care for the narrator. I know it’s petty of me, but I can’t help it. I found her voice to be very irritating. BUT, on the plus side, her voice totally matched the annoying character of Cassie. I wanted to quit listening to this story several times but did not have another one to replace it and no time to get to the library. I decided that it was better than ...more
Eh. The plot was OK. I didn't love the characters except for Cassie's mom and Sam the parrot. Which by the way, African Grey parrots do NOT have green feathers (maybe that was a typo?) I typically do not read this type of book but I picked it up because of references to birdwatching and animal behavior on the back cover. Cassie worked at a wildlife center but there were more details about the stupid dress she bought at some fancy store. She barely seemed to like animals. Connor studied birds but ...more
New, clean books always attract me to them for some reason. Sometimes I leave them, but weirdly, more then not, I’ll end up checking them out. This book attracted me because it took place in LA. A girl with learning problems finally overcomes them in life by lying to get a job. Because of her lies, she gets the job as an office assistant at a local university. She has an interesting relationship with her mother and my favourite one was the one with her pet parrot. When the parrot died at the end ...more
Cassie is nearly thirty and a widow. Her dyslexia has made her life difficult and led people, including her late unlamented loser husband, to consider her dumb. She is, instead, a woman with a lively mind and a peaceful and mystical connection to the wildness of the land. Living with her hippie widowed mother in Topango Canyon with her companion parrot, Sam, Cassie struggles to make her way in the world. She lies on her resume and gets a job as assistant to two faculty.

In her struggle to cover u
Kat Shelton
May 17, 2009 Kat Shelton marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Book Jacket:
In the wilds of Topanga Canyon, Cassie is right at home--
with the call of birds, the sound of wind in the trees,
the harmony of a world without people. But everywhere
else, life is a little harder for Cassie. Her mother
believes in Big Foot. Her wisecracking pet parrot is a
drama queen. And at the age of thirty, newly single and
without a college degree, Cassie desperately needs a
decent paycheck. Which is why, against all her principles,
she lies on her resume for an office job at an elite
May 26, 2008 Caroline rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Caroline by: I read a different book of same writers
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Cassie Shaw is a woman in her 30’s who feels like she’s missed out on life. A car accident a few years ago claimed her no-good husband, and now that she’s living with her mom and unemployed again, she’s looking for a new lease on life. With no degree, no serious job history, and nothing really going for her, Cassie decides to lie on her resume about her educational background and lands a job as an administrative assistant at the local university, helping out in the psych department. Making frien ...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Very fast read - very real - very funny. Sometimes it gets a tad lengthy in description but probably not annoying enough to even mention; and possibly a little tree-hugging for some people, though done with humor. You have to pay attention to where the quotes end when Cassie speaks because her thoughts keep going after she's finished talking and it is hilarious. Her use of the F-word is a bit much for my taste but it wasn't so bad that I couldn't finish the book. Quick humor and funny, sweet rom ...more
This one is a gem. The main character, Cassie, is endearing & believable. She should be a poster child for dyslectics, though the way she manages to overcome her reading challenges may be setting the bar quite high for many sufferers.
Kaufman & Mack make a perfect team.. I'll be checking out more from these two! Their descriptions of nature that is Cassie's comfort zone/world are magnificent and inviting.
This was a very interesting book and not what I usually choose to read. It was refreshing to read of a woman who realizes that education will make a difference in her life. She wants something more and embraces the hard work that it will be to achieve her goals. It's kind of a cinderella story with the heroine being her own fairy godmother. Realistic in its portrayal of the difficulties in being from a hardworking but not privileged background and the differences there are between classes. I cou ...more
This book was a bit flawed, but I really enjoyed it at a five star level anyway. It's like Barbara Kingsolver's Flight Behavior, but without so much gratuitous pain and suffering. An uneducated woman finds a rare and unlikely natural event and gets sucked into the world of academia. Really, it makes you wonder if Kingsolver ripped this book off.... (And then there's the parrot, who was very real.)

The problem with the book is that it kept thinking it needed to be chick lit, so it threw in some gr
I've been reading a lot about dyslexia lately, and I checked this book out because it came up during a library search. Although it certainly isn't The Great American Novel (nor does it claim to be), it is a fun and surprisingly rewarding piece of fiction. It actually has quite a lot to say about dyslexia, but you really have to read with that perspective in mind. I loved that the authors neither sugar-coat Cassie's (protagonist) learning challenges nor make her into some sort of unrecognized pro ...more
Another faux-literary, fairly lackluster beach read with pretensions. This one involves a young widow living in downscale L.A. with her mother and a gray parrot who lies about her education (she never finished high school due to dyslexia) to get a job as an assistant in a university department, and while there manages to captivate the most dashing and poetic possible professor. But the storytelling is all over the map -- loose plot threads, neglected characters, characters who materialize out of ...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
I really enjoyed this book. It was a very different vein from their previous work about a book addict. This character is dyslexic and has never gone to college but lies about that on her resume to get a job at a university. What’s odd is that she ends up getting the same enjoyment from attending the college classes as she did from ditching the high school ones. She also finds a compatriot with her interest in birds, nature and animal behavior. But how long until it all unravels? With a funny and ...more
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Jennifer Kaufman is a former staff writer for the Los Angeles Times and a two-time winner of the national Penney-Missouri Journalism Award. She has co-authored three books with Karen Mack: most recently, Freud's Mistress, which received four stars from People and was on USA Today’s, Vanity Fair’s, and Marie Claire's best summer reading list for 2013; Literacy and Longing in L.A., which reached #1 ...more
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“You go to a party or whatever, and you spend the whole night zeroing in on the woman in red, the blonde in the corner, the girl with the big laugh, and then, as you are leaving, you see someone out of the corner of your eye, her hair glinting in the light, her long neck tilted slightly as she listens intently to the person next to her. And you know she's the one you should of talked to.” 6 likes
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