Reading Journal Entry: Liar and Spy

By in Communication on November 2, 2015

Liar and Spy is an award-winning fiction book written by Rebecca Stead. It was released in 2012 and one the Guardian Children’s Fiction Prize soon after. Liar and Spy seemingly targets a young audience however it builds an interesting story and a lot of detail is put into the characters, especially the main character who Rebecca Stead goes into in great depth. This book was recommended to me by a friend who said that it had good character development and I have to say that I was not let down and I found this book a very enjoyable read.

Liar and Spy is about a young boy named Georges who moves home with his mum and dad after is dad looses his job. In their new apartment Georges and his dad discover a message stating the presence of a spy club. Georges investigates the club further and ends up becoming friends with its leader Safer. The book shows Georges interactions in the spy club and shows a sequence of events unfold. Whilst this happens during Georges home life the book also goes into detail about his difficult school life and his tough interactions with school bullies. This book also focuses heavily on the mindset of the main character and his interactions with him self aswell as with other people.

Liar and Spy does not have as strong of an anti-hero theme as I would have hoped however you can still find the anti-hero idea present throughout the book. This book is written in first person from the point of view of Georges which is a common feature. Another feature that is present is his relatively normal character, he appears to be a normal boy however he is heavily discriminated against at school and is reasonably introverted in most of the book. The book also revolves around his thoughts which is where most of the humour and story is generated.

On top of the main character Safer shows strong anti-hero signs. Safer is a very mysterious character who seems beyond his years in intelligence and in experience. From the moment Georges enters the apartment he seems to have his eye on him and he delivers him notes in his own room and so on. This generates a small anti-hero aura around safer. [Spoiler] Safer also believes there is a murderer within there property and it becomes the purpose of the spy club to investigate and gain evidence of him killing anyone.Part of the way he appears anti-hero in this part of the story is through his seemingly wrong actions that he does to find the killer. For example he breaks into the suspects house on multiple occasions to find evidence which Georges identifies as illegal although he doesn’t seem to care. He also tricks Georges into thinking he has been caltured so that he also breaks into the house to save him.

[Big Spoiler] At the end of the story the main twist is revealed and in reality the spy club and the whole investigation were just a game created by Safer. Georges becomes enraged that Safer fooled him into worrying about his life and the lives of the supposed victims. Safer seems confused and he says that it was just a game and that he thought Georges was enjoying himself. It also becomes apparent that Safer is afraid of everything for example he always takes the stairs instead of the elevator and he doesn’t go to school because of the scary situations he will be put in. The puzzle pieces begin to fit together and you feel sorry for Safer as you realise that it was probably very hard to for Safer to mame friends and you understand that his intentions were all good. This is anti-hero characteristics as he completely lies to and manipulates Georges even though he has good intentions.

The setting itself is very ordinary and it doesn’t seem to show any large amount of corruption or dystopia, however the main characters school life is contested with high amounts of bullying and discrimination. In the end he manages to find ways to avoid this and finds a large group he can trust which seems to give him comfort. In the first part of the story where you still believe about the spy club their is corruption present in the apartment, as there is apparently a killer who is wheeling bdies out in suitcases however we discover this not to be true.

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