Rob Roberge’s Memoir ‘Liar’ is a Rough Look at Addiction, Memory, and Mental Illness

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9780553448061Liar is a memoir told in brief –and often horrific– memories and snippets.  Sometimes in the midst of mental illness and addiction, these small windows are all that is left of panicked thoughts. Rob Roberge begins his story with a memory of a murder of his best friend in the small town he grew up in. This becomes a thread through the entire book, often flickering into segments involving addiction and dangerous promiscuity. While not everything you read her is true, admittedly, the truth and fiction blur together into the story of Rob Roberge.

Liar‘s segments are told out of order, often switching from an incident in 2013, back to something that occurred in the 1980’s. He’s been a graduate student, a guitar player in an all-girl band, a professor, ice cream store manager, and many other jobs, all while working to self-medicate or work with doctor support to lessen his bipolar symptoms. Roberge discusses everything from BDSM, to nearly overdosing, to the AIDS epidemic of the 1980’s, to his wife’s chronic illness. Liar is most definitely not the feel good book of the Summer.

Admittedly, Liar is a hard book to read. It’s not that the segments are particularly confusing, but rather that the subject matter is often like getting hit in the face with a sack full of quarters. There are parts where you truly feel Rob Roberge’s strong abilities to love. You see him really reaching for love and support from others. Other times, he is wasting away at the height of addiction, unable to remember his actions from the previous days. This is not a book for younger audiences and the subject matter will be a bit too intense for sensitive readers.   However, it is an important book. Liar gives us a first hand account of what it’s like to live in addiction, mental illness, and the ever changing memoir of our life we call our memory.

Liar by Rob Roberge is now available from Crown Publishers.

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