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3.71  ·  Rating details ·  441 Ratings  ·  139 Reviews
An intense memoir about mental illness, memory and storytelling, from an acclaimed novelist.
When Rob Roberge learns that he's likely to have developed a progressive memory-eroding disease from years of hard living and frequent concussions, he is terrified by the prospect of becoming a walking shadow. In a desperate attempt to preserve his identity, he sets out to (somewha
Hardcover, 272 pages
Published February 9th 2016 by Crown
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Ashley Brooks
Feb 08, 2016 marked it as dnf
"A darkly funny, intense memoir about mental illness, memory and storytelling, from an acclaimed novelist."

Well. This one just isn't working for me. A non-linear collection of stories about the authors struggle with mental illness, memory loss, and other events that I still can't figure out the relevance of. The author will sometimes at the end of the story admit he made it up, and it makes you question what exactly is true in this memoir.

I understand the goal it's trying to accomplish, but I'm
Jun 11, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
LIAR is, ironically, a gut wrenchingly honest self-portrait. I always feel uncomfortable rating memoirs, especially ones that deal with trauma, and Rob Roberge has dealt with far more than his fair share of traumatic shit. I am tremendously impressed with anyone who is willing to expose themselves as drastically as Roberge has in this book.
Apr 08, 2016 rated it really liked it
You have scars you lie about and scars you tell the truth about.

a memoir in second person?? what a country!

not only is this told in second person (where you have experienced some truly horrible shit, my friend), but it's also told in nonlinear, occasionally contradictory snippets as roberge, who may or may not have CTE; that condition football players get from being clonked in the head all day, featured in that movie where will smith tries really hard to win an oscar by saying his line twice for
Feb 25, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: read-in-2016
Received as an uncorrected proof from LibraryThing for an honest review.

The first time I ever met Memoir was at the back of a high school creative writing class. If you've never been in a creative writing class or have always plopped down front and center in eager anticipation of being doused in literary genius, I highly suggest a trip down the row to a seat at the back for a change if you're given the opportunity. The literary genius might thin out a little bit from point A to point B but I b
Donna Davis
I received this DRC free of charge from Crown Books and Net Galley in exchange for an honest review. To be honest, it is the second-worst galley I have ever read. (The very worst lacked punctuation and was unreadable.) I wondered how a book like this wound up with such a reputable publisher; an internet search tells me that he has written other books that were well received. But I can’t find any redeeming value here. I actually came out of it feeling as if I’d been played, and I read it free.

Rebecca McPhedran
Thank you to Net Galley for an advanced copy of this book.

I absolutely loved this book. This is Roberge's memoir. Snippets and pictures of parts of his life. He was a hard drinking, drug addicted sex addict, who has bipolar disorder. Always brutally honest, and at times hard to read, Roberge is putting down his life story because he may not remember it later. He has had so many concussions in hi lifetime, that doctors are afraid he may suffer from CTE, a degenerative brain disease that can only
Cathe Olson
Jan 22, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Holy S**t! This is one wild and crazy tale of mental illness and drug addition, made even more heart-breaking because of the musical and writing talent of author, and his desperate efforts to control his mind and his life. The book is a jumble of scenes that jump around in time from the author's childhood through adulthood. I seriously could not put this book down. The vivid, arresting writing kept me turning pages and even the use of "you" when the author really means "I" did not bother me like ...more
Mar 18, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I went into this one with no real expectations but found myself consistently blown away by how good it was. Roberge's scattered nonlinear life memories are multi-faceted--deeply personal, sad (often crushing actually), sometimes funny, consistently reflective, no-BS, and totally self-accountable. On top of all that, there are times when Roberge just mentions some sad suicide or death that he has thought about. Dude is dropping hints like crazy about his inner-darkness! But it's so good and I was ...more
Jessica Creason
Feb 17, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: for-review, bios
This book caught my attention, right from the 1st page:

The principal paired him with a new girl at school, told him to take care of her and show her around, in an attempt to keep him out of trouble. Then, she was killed. This was in 1977, and even 40 years later, he researched her death in an attempt to help himself feel better and less responsible.
Her killer was never found, and every day, he looked at men and thought they could be her killer, especially before he left his hometown at the age o
May 07, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2016
First, a story about myself. When I was 18, my boyfriend and I were at a punk rock concert and a steel pole fell on us and cracked us both in the head. We went to the hospital, but basically refused treatment, as I remember it. Years, decades later, I realize I had a severe head injury. After that I didn't recognize numbers for quite some time, the concept of numbers, how they worked. It was impossible. I literally got more stupid, like the pole knocked a bunch of IQ out of me, permanently. I ne ...more
Dec 18, 2015 rated it it was ok
*thank you to NetGalley and Crown Publishing for an ARC in exchange for an honest review*

Somewhere along the line I lost track of the idea that this was a memoir only to have it hit me about midway through the book. I kept having the sense that the story seemed real and then I felt like an uninformed jackass who doesn't read the jacket tags before he buys the book and then complains when the book is terrible. Well, the book was not terrible. It was odd and mind-numbing but not terrible. Written
Peter Landau
How could I not read a book called LIAR: A MEMOIR? Memoirs often anger me with their forced narratives and narcissism. But Rob Roberge seemed to promise a honest look at the way the mind edits reality to suit its purposes, whether to tell a story or to boost an ego. He does this, to a degree, by first picking up the story of his struggles with mental illness and addiction and dropping it until the whole breaks into pieces scattered into a nonlinear structure, episodic like his breaks with realit ...more
Mar 10, 2017 rated it liked it
Recommended to Linda by: RH
Shelves: memoir, hardback, 2017, owned
I'm not sure if I weren't "stuck" on flights from central Ohio to Phoenix I would have finished this book.
It is a memoir of a man who battles both addiction (drugs, alcohol, cigarettes) and bi-polar disorder. The book does NOT have a chronology that made any sense to me. Almost as if, he just wrote whatever popped into his head that day and then published as he wrote them rather than as he lived them. Some of the chronology didn't have to do with him, but were people who died (often committing s
Liz Prato
Apr 08, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: memoir
Roberge renders a vulnerable and heartbreaking account of his life-long struggles with addiction, mental illness, and TBI. He also explores the reliability of memory, both through exposition and through the structure and point of view through which he tells his story. The fragments gain power as we move through the text, just like our memory fragments do in real life. This book is so damn honest it often made me actually gasp (my husband would say, "good line?" And I'd say "freaking great line." ...more
Acacia Ives
I was not sure ... I really was not in the mood to read something down and sad but once I hit 50 pages I felt ready! I loved this book the depiction of time loss was wonderful and the confusion I felt worked as if you follow the mind of the author. Full review to come on my channel
Karen Germain
Feb 11, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Thank You to Crown Publishing for providing me with an advanced copy of Rob Roberge's memoir, Liar, in exchange for an honest review.

PLOT- Writer and musician Rob Roberge is trying to process his diagnosis of possible degenerative memory loss. Looking towards his future, he reflects on his past, including drug and alcohol addictions and mental health issues. When we look at the memories and personal stories that form our identities, how many of these are accurate? How much can we trust in our c
Taryn Marie
May 07, 2016 rated it really liked it
I heard about this book from the Pen on Fire Speaker Series (Writers on Writing for my podcast enthusiasts). When Rob read an excerpt, I ordered the book before he finished reading. His writing is very strong and almost like a slap in the face when you begin the book.

The being said, it is the same story told a hundred different ways. It speaks to the writer's relationship with drugs, alcohol, women, and his mental health. It breaks your heart but I found myself reacting to it the same way I woul
Feb 09, 2016 rated it it was amazing
“You tell yourself, over and over, that you thought you were better than this. But you are not. And you may never be better than this.”

It has been a long, long time since a book has affected me as deeply as Liar has. This book is raw, so much so that at some points you feel like you shouldn’t be reading it, that it’s too private. Have you ever seen someone you really love and admire in the hospital with a serious illness or injury? That’s the level of gut-wrenching vulnerability we’re talking ab
Andra Ivanyi
Dec 17, 2015 rated it really liked it
A unique, fascinating, moving biography. LIAR is written in a fragmented style, jumping around in time, so that you never quite get a grasp on the timeline of the author's life. You don't need the times and dates to add up, however, to be drawn into this intense and poignant account of what it was like to be an addict losing great gaps of time, struggling through relationships, fighting loneliness and despair (and, on occasion, winning).

Written in the second person, which is rare, LIAR offers a
I loved this book and can't stop thinking about it. LIAR is written in the second-person POV, which is very hard to pull off, but I felt that Roberge did it, and moreover, that it was the most effective choice for him to tell this true (true-ish? true story about lying?) story, because the "you" pulls in the reader and allows you to feel you're one with the narrator, which makes it more sympathetic.

I wasn't able to figure out an organizing principle for the parts of the story (that is, the sect
Dec 22, 2015 rated it really liked it
If you've ever wanted to know why seemingly normal middle class people become junkies this is the book for you. Rob Roberge recounts the harrowing story of his life of masochism, mental illness and drug and alchohol abuse in a raw stream of consciousness. Some of the stories he recounts are not easy to read for their frankness. However, you can't help but like Rob and feel empathy for the pain of his spiraling mental illness which has caused him to self medicate with drugs and alcohol. While bei ...more
Feb 03, 2016 rated it really liked it
Dates. Memories. Snippets of time. That’s how this book starts out.

Instead of using the first person approach, as most memoirs do, Roberge uses second person. You are the story. You are living Roberge’s life. In one memory, you’re in 2009 – the next you’re in 1912. The jumps in memory read naturally, like they’d play out in your head.

Due to the jumps, it is difficult to pinpoint the timeline of the story. Events occur, but they are so randomly organized that there doesn’t seem to be much – if an
Anne V.
Feb 04, 2016 rated it really liked it
This book releases on Feb. 9th, 2016.

The trouble with a talented writer writing about a real person with pain, hopelessness, despair, bad choices, terrifying experiences, bad people, risky behaviors, and all the rest, is that it is terribly compelling as a story. He makes you live in it. It may be his fractal life, but it is you, the reader, who is the one out of control. As a form of entertainment, it may be the same as cutting yourself to make you feel better, but by golly, you will read it to
Patrick O'Neil
Dec 25, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Memory isn’t linear. It’s a convoluted mess of responses to chemical and physical stimuli. One thought leads to another and then you’re off into the wormhole of similar and related occurrences touch tagging each other with their emotions. Couple that with mental health, drug addiction, numerous concussions, the lies one tells, and that odd retained bit of trivia and you have Rob Roberge’s LIAR. With a lifetime’s worth of memories wadded together and flung onto the page in a manic explosion of de ...more
Michelle Only Wants to Read
3 - 3.5

A singular, insightful glance inside the author's struggle with addiction and bipolar disorder.

The book is written in the third person, as if the author wrote each dated entry as part of a diary and chose to share it with his audience. The book is divided in chapters, but I'm not even know why (perhaps to give me a sense of accomplishment as I navigated through the anecdotes). The entries are dated but not placed in any chronological order. At first this was distracting, but after a whil
Mar 27, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This memoir--about addiction, about mental illness, about throwing yourself against the wall again and again until you crack yourself open--is stunning and wonderful. Roberge pulls off two of the things that I usually grump about in book length memoir: second person address (in which the authorial voice is speaking directly to the narrative character) and a muddled chronology. Both strategies though, in this book, are done with so much artfulness that instead of bothering me, they are a signific ...more
Dec 02, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: thereadingroom
This actually turned out to be a pretty good book! I didn't like it at all when I started it, thinking it 'was all over the place!' But I soon became accustomed to the notion that if this is a memoir about a person with head trauma/a mental illness/drug & alcohol addictions.....then his story probably would resemble 'all over the place!' Once adjusted to his way of putting this account of his life together, it pieces together fine....& becomes rather hard to put down. If you're squeamish ...more
Jan 23, 2016 rated it really liked it
When I received this book, I knew it was a biography of a person with drug addiction and bi-polar. Instead of reading in a straight, chronological order, the book jumps around. At one part we may be reading about something that happened in 1973, and the next we will be in the year 2003. I felt like I was getting a sense of what it must be like for someone who is bipolar... going from one extreme degree to another extreme degree without anything in-between. It took a little bit to get into the rh ...more
Feb 02, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: r-lt
If we knew we would lose our memories, which ones would we try and preserve? Rob Roberge's memoir Liar is his answer to these questions. This book is not just about saving all his memories; it is about selectively presenting the memories that document his challenges with mental illness and addiction. Told in the third person, the book builds a picture of life from short dated snapshots of events and thoughts.

Read my complete review at:

Reviewed for Library
Sandy Harris
Nov 05, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: first-reads
I received a copy of LIAR via a First to Read giveaway. The memoir is Rob Roberge’s brutally honest account of his battle with alcoholism, drugs, CTE (repetitive brain injury, including concussions) and mental illness. At first the memories were difficult to follow as they were presented in a nonlinear fashion, but after a while I got used to his “voice” and it flowed more smoothly. I’d definitely recommend this well written memoir – so much so that I am interested in reading other books that he ...more
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