Confessions of a Liar, Thief and Failed Sex God
About the book
It’s 1967. The world is rocking, and Neil is growing up fast.
Neil Bridges attends a Catholic boys’ school in which teachers rule with iron fists and thick leather straps. Some crumble under the pressure but Neil toughs it out, just as his Vietnam-bound older brother has done before him. He has to be a man, after all. But at sixteen, how can he be sure of himself when he’s not sure of anything else? He loses a friend and finds another, falls in love and unwittingly treads a path that leads to revenge and possibly murder . . .
About the author
Bill Condon's novels have been Honour Books in the Children's Book Council Book of the Year Awards, shortlisted for the Ethel Turner Prize in the NSW Premier's Literary Awards, on the longlist in the inaugural Inky Awards, Australia's first teenage choice awards, and Confessions of a Liar, Thief and Failed Sex God won the Prime Minister's Literary Award for Young Adult.
He lives on the south coast of New South Wales with his wife, the well-known children's author Di (Dianne) Bates.
Confessions of a Liar, Thief and Failed Sex God is a poignant, funny and deeply insightful rite of passage novel. Set in 1967, the author makes it seem contemporary, skilfully employing a nuanced first-person narration.
Neil Bridges attends a Catholic boys' school where classmate Ray (Zom) is accused by a Brother of stealing a wallet and is expelled after a fight with his accuser. Neil knows who stole the wallet, but refuses to tell. Ray's father is so ashamed that Ray is cut off from his family—save for his older sister Sylvana.
Neil falls in love with Sylvana, but, implicated in Ray's disgrace, his loyalties and motives are deeply conflicted. The pain of first love, and the morality attached to individual life choices, is evoked with real empathy.
Confessions of a Liar, Thief and Failed Sex God also portrays the strength of ordinary families and the love even between warring brothers. There's a poignant hint too, of more loss ahead, in Neil's brother Kevin's conscription for the Vietnam War. Condon declines to indulge in historical revisionism, while the economical prose attains a rhythm that is almost poetry.
The short, chiselled chapters ensure that not a word is wasted. Condon is a writer of considerable craft who eschews the flamboyant in search of deeper truths.
The winner of the 2010 Young Adult Fiction Award is a work of tremendous honesty and integrity, exploring moral issues pertaining to the rite of passage experienced by teenagers. Judges were enormously impressed with the way the writer canvasses these concerns in a concise, emotionally charged novel.