Life has not been particularly kind to Cassie Shaw, the protagonist of "A Version of the Truth." Her father died when she was young. Her Mom, while well-meaning and loving, has little understanding and patience for "real life," which means that money was always tight.
You have to love this gal; she's got moxie! She is a dyslexic who didn't learn to read until she was twelve. Of course, she's a high school drop out who didn't even bother to take the SATs. And to top it off, Cassie's no good husband of four years has just died leaving her a thirty year old widow. And by the way she is not only broke, she's in debt.
Cassie moves back home with her foul-mouthed parrot. About the only thing she has going for her is her friend Tiffany and her native street smarts.
What she really needs is a job. Problem is, no one wants to hire her. Then one day it happens, in a desperate moment she invents a psychology degree from the University of Michigan.
Lying on her resume just happened. Lying really isn't her style. Cassie is much more used to faking it. That's something she's done it all her life: memorizing menus at eight, dodging homework in high school and playing dumb.
This particular lie works like a charm. Suddenly she is employed in an administrative position at an elite university and the the faking it starts in earnest. She slowly begins to reinventing herself from the outside in. Hair, clothes, a little Thoreau, a University of Michigan coffee mug and a college class or two. What she doesn't count on is how exposure to new people and new ideas will change her.
It is all too good to last and in one afternoon everything changes. She learns that it is not the lie, but the cover up that is her final undoing.
Once I got into the book (it has a slow start), I thoroughly enjoyed every word. Cassie is an engaging anti-hero with a slightly skewed point of view. Her forays into culture (art exhibits and the symphony) are laugh out loud funny.
It might not be great literature but it is the perfect book for a rainy weekend. Funny, whimsical and heartening.
Here's the publisher's book description:
Authors Jennifer Kaufman and Karen Mack introduce a character with a unique voice you’ll never forget: Cassie Shaw, an irrepressible young woman who reinvents herself—with unexpected consequences—in a funny, wise, and utterly original novel about friendship, love, wildlife, and other forces of nature.
In the wilds of Topanga Canyon, Cassie is right at home—with the call of birds, the sound of wind in the trees, the harmony of a world without people. But everywhere else, life is a little harder for Cassie. Her mother believes in Big Foot. Her wisecracking pet parrot is a drama queen. And at the age of thirty, newly single and without a college degree, Cassie desperately needs a decent paycheck. Which is why, against all her principles, she lies on her résumé for an office job at an elite university—and then finds herself employed in academia by two professors who are as rare as the birds she covets.
One of her new bosses is Professor William Conner, a sexy, handsome, cheerfully aristocratic expert in animal behavior. Soon, under Conner’s charismatic tutelage, Cassie carefully begins her personal transformation while meeting the kind of people who don’t flock to wildlife preserves—from impossibly brilliant academics to adorably spoiled college boys. But her future—and unlikely new career—is teetering on one unbearable untruth. And Cassie’s masquerade is about to come undone…in a chain of events that will transform her life—and the lives of those around her—forever.
A novel for late bloomers of every exotic shade and stripe, A Version of the Truth is pure entertainment—at once hilarious and wry, lyrical and uplifting.