Monday, August 16, 2010

The Good Liar

The Good Liar by Gregory Maguire might serve as an introduction to the use of primary resources when researching a topic. The book begins with three young girls sending a letter to an older gentleman they see on television. The girls know he came to America from Europe and he seemed to be old enough to have been their age during the war. They ask if he could tell them about World War II. Marcel Delarue, our narrator, responds with the story of his childhood.

Fat Marcel, as he was called, grew up in Mont-Saint-Martin, France with his Maman and two brothers, Pierre and Rene. The year was 1940 and France was being occupied by the German army. Before the occupation, the brothers (who were Roman Catholic, like most French people) spent their time playing and trying to see who could tell the biggest lie. But then, the war came much closer to them. Uncle Anton came to their home from Paris, bringing a Jewish woman and her daughter who hid in the house until they could safely escape. The boys had one more thing to lie about. Then they became friends with a German soldier - and the lies got bigger and bigger. If you want to know how the story turns out, you will need to read the book.

As a mother (and a Catholic, I might add), I was not overjoyed with the idea of using lying as the main focus of the book. It is implied that Catholics lie, which I found very strange. As a reader and a human being, I realize that we all tell small lies from time to time - to not hurt feelings, or to protect someone. I also realize that young people might see this in an entirely different way, especially if their involvement with the book is led by a teacher.

Here is an interesting interview with the author discussing his experiences writing The Good Liar.

The Good Liar: A Teaching Guide provides an excellent five unit lesson plan for reading and interacting with the book.

TITLE: The Good Liar
AUTHOR: Gregory Maguire
PAGES: 129
TYPE: Historical fiction
RECOMMEND: This was not my favorite fictional work about the Holocaust. However, it did show the tense interactions experienced by the locals during occupation.


Beverly said...

Hey - just hoppin' by! I started the hop on Friday, but had to leave, just now getting back to it. Hope you had a great weekend! Stop by The Wormhole and say hi!

Annette said...

I am so proud of you for having this blog! Marvelous!
I have a young adult/children blog as well, have been reading several books this year on children from other cultures. I've not been exposed as of yet to books for children on the Holocaust, thank you for the education on these books.
Glad to know you and glad to be a follower.
My blog for children is:
The name of it is Garden of Books.

Shaynie said...

Definitely adding this to my to-read list!