Unreliable Narrators and Ourselves: Background information when reading Genuine Fraud

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reviews |  Beyond the Book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

Genuine Fraud

by E Lockhart

Genuine Fraud by E Lockhart X
Genuine Fraud by E Lockhart
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

     Not Yet Rated
  • First Published:
    Sep 2017, 288 pages
    Paperback:
    May 7, 2019, 288 pages

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
Michelle Anya Anjirbag
Buy This Book

About this Book

Unreliable Narrators and Ourselves

This article relates to Genuine Fraud

Print Review

Unreliable NarratorAmerican literary critic Wayne C. Booth coined the term "unreliable narrator" in 1961 in his most famous book, The Rhetoric of Fiction, and the concept was later refined by Hamilton College professor and narrative theorist Peter J. Rabinowitz: whether it is clear from the outset or revealed at the end, the unreliable narrator causes readers to question what they have read, and to reevaluate the message of the text. This may sound counterproductive, but sometimes, by not being able to fully trust in the world they become invested in, readers can explore the themes of the text more deeply – precisely because the validity of what is presented has to be questioned.

Without question, Jule – in E. Lockhart's Genuine Fraud – is an unreliable narrator, and studying her is a great way to truly get a sense of the literary device. The more we learn about Jule and her motivations, the less we can trust what she is saying and the less we believe the ways she reads the other characters in the novel. But that is also what makes the novel interesting – the unreliable narrator that simultaneously shapes and skews the reader's view of the text. What is almost most satisfying is that readers never know if Jule's unreliability is the result of calculated manipulation or something undiagnosed, but it almost doesn't matter. The darkest realization for readers is connecting with a truly unredeemable villain, which shows how an unreliable narrator can force someone to question his or her presumptions of what right and wrong are. Where at first readers are led to believe that Jule is the victim in some way, by the end of the novel they are stuck grappling with feelings of both empathy toward a girl with no options, searching for a way out of her own desperate situation, and disgust for the manipulation and violence that has been committed along the way.

Most importantly, beyond grappling with Jule's actions; readers have to reconcile their disgust – as more information comes to light – with the empathy and almost pity first felt towards Jule. She manipulates her surroundings, carefully hiding her secrets, but before readers see that, they see a strong but lonely young woman, perhaps, even in some ways, a reflection of themselves. This is the real power of unreliable narrators – we see ourselves in them before being forced to contend with their flaws, and that causes us to also contend with our own flawed presentation, as well as that of human nature.

Image courtesy of nownovel.com

This "beyond the book article" relates to Genuine Fraud. It first ran in the September 6, 2017 issue of BookBrowse Recommends.

This review is available to non-members for a limited time. For full access become a member today.
Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: In Byron's Wake
    In Byron's Wake
    by Miranda Seymour
    It's tempting to think that our age of celebrity worship coupled with the 24-hour news cycle is ...
  • Book Jacket: The Latecomers
    The Latecomers
    by Helen Klein Ross
    The Latecomers is the third novel written by acclaimed author Helen Klein Ross, following What Was ...
  • Book Jacket: The Inflamed Mind
    The Inflamed Mind
    by Edward Bullmore
    It is common knowledge that depression diminishes the quality of sufferers' lives, but few people ...
  • Book Jacket: The Adults
    The Adults
    by Caroline Hulse
    Things have already fallen apart on the first page of The Adults. The novel opens with an emergency ...

Book Discussion
Book Jacket
Force of Nature
by Jane Harper

As atmospheric, tense, and explosive as her New York Times bestselling debut, The Dry!

About the book
Join the discussion!

Readers Recommend

  • Book Jacket

    House of Stone
    by Novuyo Rosa Tshuma

    A masterful debut, pulsing with dark humor, that explores the often destructive act of history-making.
    Reader Reviews

Win this book!
Win Uncommon Type

Uncommon Type
by Tom Hanks

Surprising, intelligent, heartwarming, and a must-have for Tom Hanks fans!

Enter

Word Play

Solve this clue:

Tell I T T M

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.