My rating: 3 of 5 stars
The Deception Artist follows eight-year old Ivy through a year in her life packed with disruption, change and perturbing situations- her brother Brice is in hospital, leaving her as the only kid at home; her dad loses his job; she loses her best friend; her mum becomes a career woman and her dad makes a worrying friendship with one of her new friends mothers. In order to deal with all this, Ivy pours her concentration into her fantasies and love for make-believe games and art.
Ivy is one of the most beautifully sweet and intelligent children I’ve had the pleasure of reading. Her reactions to her parents confusing behaviours are so endearing and reminded me of the funny things I used to believe when I was her age! Part of the reason I enjoyed this novel was because of the connection I felt with Ivy- I saw a lot of my younger self in her, and even in our differences I kept finding myself thinking I definitely would have been friends with her if she’d gone to my school.
Interestingly, I found myself questioning the title and focus of the book. I didn’t find that Ivy was an excessive liar for a child of her age, and I found that the small lies she told did not make up a very large part of her personality. It was her imagination and quiet determination that drew her off the page for me, and I think that in places Ivy’s characters completely overtook the plot and drowned it out.
Although I enjoyed reading this story, and I found Fayette Fox’s writing delicious to read, I did feel that perhaps the plot wasn’t strong enough in places. I found that the novel skipped from chapter to chapter, often with little or no connection. I was expecting a more solid, purposeful story instead of the narrative plod of day-to-day life I found. I still found it enjoyable to read because it was obvious that these characters had been crafted carefully and with love, but I finished the book and felt like I had missed something.
Additionally, I hoped that the end of the book would tie up the daydreams Ivy had been having about “The Artist”- these sections thoroughly confused me. Ivy would imagine her future self in a wonderful warm apartment, painting and drawing as a grown up. I thought this was a lovely touch until “The Artist” started communicating with her as if she had actually transported into the future. As a separate idea for a story I think this would have been really interesting to read, however, within this particular story I found it out of place and couldn’t really see why it had been included.
My issues with the plot aside, I do recommend this book purely for the wonderful writing and irresistible charm of Ivy.
This review was first published on Nudge-books.com on 3rd April 2017.