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Comment: exlibrary hardcover book with mylar jacket, usual library marks;light reader wear
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Dirty Liar Hardcover – February 1, 2006

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$16.99 FREE Shipping on orders over $35. Only 1 left in stock. Ships from and sold by Amazon.com. Gift-wrap available.

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 8 Up–Benji moves in with his emotionally distant father and well-meaning stepmother, Janet, to escape his alcoholic mothers boyfriends sexual abuse. Unfortunately, he cant escape his demons. He spends his days at his Oregon high school scribbling his misery in notebooks and getting stoned with other misfits. His only hopeful thoughts are of Lacie, the troubled girl he left behind. These feelings become conflicted when he is attracted to Rianna, a popular girl from a poor family who works hard to achieve the goals set by her parents. Benjis inner turmoil, though authentic to his situation, grows tiresome, and the plot becomes mired in overwritten self-flagellation. Jamess female characters shine; Rianna and Lacie are both sharply drawn in relatively few strokes. Earnest, levelheaded Janet is the unlikely heroine, and her gentle absolution when Benji confesses his abuse defies centuries of stepmother stereotyping. This poignant climactic scene is masterfully written and points the story smoothly to its satisfying, uplifting conclusion. Unfortunately, the narratives lulling pace and somber mood may put teens off before they reach these triumphant last pages. Though less subtle than Kathleen Jeffrie Johnsons Target (Millbrook, 2003), Jamess portrait of male post-rape depression is heartbreaking and believable.–Johanna Lewis, New York Public Library
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Gr. 9-12. Benji (also known as Dogboy) has a riveting story. It is written in hard, first-person language, and there is fear and drugs and cursing and more fear, but it is also deeply poetic. Benji has moved from his alcoholic mother's trailer--but more important away from her abusive boyfriend--to live with his distant and controlling father and his wife. Benji, who keeps a journal to try to name and define his demons, calls both his former girlfriend and Rianna, the new girl he clings to, his angels. He hopes that somehow, in some way, they will save him. Benji has to save himself, but it is the open and gentle persistence of his stepmother, and the realization that Rianna, too, has demons to fight, that allow him to do so. Powerful, compelling, and, in the end, almost sweet. GraceAnne DeCandido
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Push; 1st Printing edition (February 1, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0439796237
  • ISBN-13: 978-0439796231
  • Product Dimensions: 7.2 x 5.3 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,048,973 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

I grew up outside of Philadelphia, a town I portrayed all my thoughts and feelings about in Pure Sunshine and the short story Filthadelphia. When I was eighteen, I moved to New York City where I stayed for ten years. You can read about my impressions of that city in both Tomorrow, Maybe and Thief. For the suburban experiences of my life, check out Perfect World and Dirty Liar.

Needless to say, ten years in Manhattan is more than enough. It was time to pack up and head for the peace and quiet of the middle of nowhere. Alas, I ended up in the Woodstock area of upstate New York. An area aptly portrayed in my book Zombie Blondes.

My fascination with writing started in childhood with the notion of making up stories. I loved action figures as a kid. Actually, I still do and still collect them. But as a child, I would set up my entire bedroom like the stage for one epic story that I would play out for days. I didn't know it at the time, but it was the basis for what I do now. I was also a stuffed animal kid. I had dozens and they all had names and they all personalities. Basically, they were characters. Writing isn't very different than playing. It's just a grown up way of doing it.


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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Teen Reads on February 24, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Fans of Brian James's books are not drawn to his writing for its evocative and intricate sentence structure, or for the promise of a complex story arc with completely original characters. You won't find either of those things in James's work. Instead, what you will find is a staccato, ragged telling of an everyday character and his or her everyday problems that spills into a narrative so emotionally raw and uncomfortably powerful that you can't help but feel changed by reading it.

His latest, DIRTY LIAR, traverses much of the same territory that his previous novels do --- love, heartache, drug usage, alienation and feeling misunderstood, familial dysfunction --- but, as with all writers who capitalize on their own familiar subject matters, he travels the terrain well. Again, it is not so much what James writes about, but how he does it that will endear readers to the story.

At first, Benji seems like the typical "un-cool" teenage boy --- reserved, eyes downcast, closed off to the world. He wears his long hair in front of his face to hide his eyes and his clothes are scruffy, non-descript and neutral. His one close friend, Sean, appears to want to spend time with him (at least he doesn't ignore him), while the others at school are content to let him blend unnoticed into their scenery. There's even a girl at school he likes from afar, Rianna, who pays no attention to him until the day she does, which makes the plot thicken, if only predictably so in that misunderstood-boy-gets-saved-by-the-popular-girl-who-suddenly-decides-to-talk-to-him way.
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Format: Hardcover
A unique and "fun" thing about Brian James' books are that his characters seem to pop up in later works. This book is a companion to his earlier book Perfect World, in which Benji, (the main character in this book) was the boyfriend of the main character in Perfect World. This book appropriately displays the attitude and emotions of an angry, neglected and sexually abused teenage boy. The mix of anger and pain overshadows every page, and does so in a way that is not recycled "teenage angst" about normal, petty high school things. Similar to his other books, Dirty Liar gives the reader a realistic, uncensored story that might have already happened somewhere out there. This book would be good for abused teenage boys to read and realte to.
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By Ashley Waldron on August 27, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Brian James manages to capture the rambling, disjointed thoughts of a young man suffering from years of abuse and neglect, and spin it into a beautifully told story. One that breaks your heart, as you follow this young man's thoughts, that always lead him to the same conclusions:

He must hide from the world, because what he is... is disgusting.

It's an amazing journey to follow as Benji transitions from a scarred, scared boy, into a young man who will never forget what has happened to him, but is beginning to move on.
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By tammy dunning on February 11, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The book was very well written and an easy read. Brian James is an excellent author. I did find the book to be horribly depressing. If you enjoy books about a sexually abused teenager's turmoil then this book is right up you're alley. I can see it being a true to life tale of a young man's survival through a childhood that was lived in hell. Like I said, it was very well written.
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By YooperGirl on January 23, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Bought the book as a gift and the receiver loved it. The item came quickly and as described, great deal.
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