Sunday, January 16, 2011

The False Friend by Myla Goldberg

I really wanted to like this book, it sounded so intriguing: Two little girls, Celia and Djuna, go into the woods, but only one comes out. Celia claims Djuna got into a stranger's car. She is never seen again and the mystery remains unsolved, yet another tragic entry in the annals of mysterious disappearances and child abductions. Fast forward 20 years and repressed memories are bubbling to the surface of Celia's mind. She now claims the story she originally told was wrong, there was no car or abduction, Djuna fell down in the woods, into a hole or well, though the fact that others recall seeing the car and there were extensive searches of the woods and no body or any other trace of Djuna was ever found, contradict this. But Celia is determined to find out what really happened and returns to her hometown and looks up her old friends.

But does she find out? Unless I missed it, there is no conclusion or closure to this story. We do learn that Celia and Djuna tormented and bullied another girl mercilessly, which Celia's memory had also blocked out, but we never really discover what happened to Djuna, only that she was not a very nice little girl, and neither was Celia, they were each other's best friend as well as worst enemy. I just felt the book ended too abruptly, even if the mystery must remain unsolved, as missing persons cases tragically often do.

Celia's relationship with her boyfriend, Huck, also mirrored the book, something that began with a promising start but traveled the road to nowhere. Though there was no resolution to that relationship either, I had the feeling that though it might drag on, with both parties struggling to make it work and convince themselves they are happy, it was destined to fizzle.

Overall, the book was like looking forward to a big Fourth of July fireworks display only to have it rained out at the last minute.

1 comment:

Carol N Wong said...

I wanted to like it too. But I gave up on it. I was struggling with the book. Thought it would make me depressed if I kept up struggling!