Justine has a must-read post answering some of the questions that have been appearing here and there (links at Justine's) about the cover of her AMAZING EFFING BRILLIANT* forthcoming novel Liar:
Liar is a book about a compulsive (possibly pathological) liar who is determined to stop lying but finds it much harder than she supposed. I worked very hard to make sure that the fundamentals of who Micah is were believable: that she’s a girl, that she’s a teenager, that she’s black, that she’s USian. One of the most upsetting impacts of the cover is that it’s led readers to question everything about Micah: If she doesn’t look anything like the girl on the cover maybe nothing she says is true. At which point the entire book, and all my hard work, crumbles.
Please read the whole thing. It's an important and incredibly brave thing to tell the truth about.
*Seriously, it blew me away in first draft form. It's one of the best novels of the year. I hope you will all buy and read it as soon as it's out.
Updated: PW has an interesting story as well.
8 thoughts on “Telling the Truth”
Thanks for the link, G. I’d heard about this cover and suspected it wasn’t the author’s choice. It’s heartbreaking.
I know, right? It makes me very sad, too. I just hope people discover the book and someday it gets the cover it deserves. Le sigh.
Wish I could have made it to the alumni mini-rez–hope it was blastful!
You know what bugs me about this? I love Justine’s work and I want to celebrate it. But celebrating this book – because of that cover – bothers me on many levels. So we are left with saying buy the book, read the book, love the book, but hate the cover. Which means the publisher gets away with an appalling (and maybe even racist) choice. We know why they did this – they thought white readers might not buy a book with a black model. They are intentionally suggesting the protagonist is not honest about her ethnicity (something repeated in the PW piece today even though Justine says that is not true).
The whole thing depresses me to no end. It’s wrong wrong wrong and in 2009? It’s inexcusable.
But we must support it and just be vocal about the cover. Otherwise, Justine is the one getting punished and all she did was write an amazing book.
I agree wholeheartedly about Justine – and that is what is killing me. I hate this, but I don’t want her to be punished for it.
I just want Bloomsbury to know that you can’t do this, not anymore, not today.
You just can’t do this and then offer up the lamest response in the world as they did in PW. And sure as heck can’t then wrap yourself in some big “but on the good side this discussion will help bring more attention to the lack of multicultural characters in books” blanket.
Are you kidding? This is helpful? WTF?
On Thu, Jul 23, 2009 at 6:55 PM, TypePad
Does anyone know who actually designed this cover? Has he or she come forward to explain the choice? I’d really like to hear that.
I honestly don’t know. But I don’t think the designer can be blamed, either–especially since sometimes they’re only working from a description of the text and haven’t read it themselves. Clearly, there was much give and take between sales & marketing and editorial in its development, and the photo is a stock photo. Editorial should have nixed it, and even after the author’s protest, didn’t. That’s really the bottom line.
Comments are closed.