Some authors use their initials instead of their first names A.A. Milne, J.K. Rowling and H.G. Wells are some examples that spring to mind. It makes you wonder if H.G. Wells’ mum used to shout, ‘H.G. dinner’s ready!’ Did A.A Milne’s friends drop by and ask him, ‘A.A. fancy coming out for a pint? If the car breaks down on the way, you can fix it… oh my bad, wrong AA.’
The author of ‘Genuine Fraud’, E. Lockhart has joined the rankings of the initialled authors. Is Lockhart male or female? Are they actually in possession of a first name? Nobody knows. It’s classified information. I honestly have no idea. Oh alright then, she is called Emily and it turns out her real surname is Jenkins, but I am really letting out all the secrets now!
Lockhart is primarily a childrens and young adult writer. If like me, you are less young and more adult then you may not have heard of her, but she has also forayed into adult fiction. ‘Genuine Fraud’ however falls firmly within the young adult category. Despite which I genuinely enjoyed it. Who said grown ups can’t read childrens fiction anyway? The biggest Harry Potter fans I know (yours truly included) are all over 30.
‘Genuine Fraud’ deals with the enigmatic friendship between the central character Jule, and her uber-rich pal Imogen. Jule is not your average 18 year old. There are dark sides to her personality fuelled by a childhood filled with neglect and abandonment. You can’t help but empathise with Jule, even when she behaves in ways that we would not expect from our protagonist.
The quirk of the book is that the story is told entirely backwards. Entirely not well….oops I mean, well not entirely! Because of course that wouldn’t make any sense, but we gradually move further and further back through Jule’s timeline. And as we do this we uncover all sorts of shenanigans. I have mentioned in previous posts that I have a habit of trying to second-guess fantastical plot twists. Well I have to admit that I was still at it with this book, but it almost didn’t matter because it was that kind of book. You know, the kind where even the most trusting reader will expect the unexpected.
I’m always intrigued by the feeling I have when I’ve finished a book. Sometimes I am exhilarated, sometimes I’m gutted it’s over. I finished ‘Genuine Fraud’ with an unexpected sense of sadness. I’m not sure if that was Lockhart’s intention or not, but Jule seemed so wholly unanchored, so bereft. It felt melancholy to leave her to her lot, but I am no longer privy to Jule’s life so I’ll just have to deal with it! Genuine Fraud, is tense, dark and cleverly constructed. If you are a fan of non-linear fiction then this is a definite go-to.
Next Monday I’m reviewing ‘The Daily Struggles of Archie Adams (Aged 2 and 1/4) by Katie Kirby. Come prepared for some laughs!