It seems almost impossible that someone could shoot to fame and gain a book deal as a result of the popularity of occasional 140-characters-or-less statements they make on Twitter. However, Kelly Oxford has proven this notion wrong with her New York Times bestseller “Everything Is Perfect When You’re a Liar,” essentially a result of her ever-increasing prominence in social media.
From the introduction, it is clear that this is a book that will make you laugh: The exchange between Oxford and her three young children is amusing in its own right, without trying too hard or appearing staged. It’s therefore fitting that the reader is given this anecdote at the start, as the realistic humor found here is a trend that continues throughout each successive chapter, beginning with the author’s own childhood experiences. Her cheeky six-year-old naiveté – accentuated by the frequent capitalization of her own words, which perfectly highlights the amusingly self-important manner in which children often speak- is paired with a present-day commentary that serves to enhance the already engaging narrative. In choosing to include this first chapter, it becomes evident that Oxford wants her readers to feel as though they are privy to some sort of exclusive information, as she details highly personal events that showcase who she truly is as a person, rather than creating an idealized image of her early life.
Kelly Oxford’s adolescence is no less entertaining, especially as found in the almost fifty-page chapter on her travels to Los Angeles in search of a certain celebrity. The numerous incidents that take place here sound almost too amusingly bizarre to be true, but, given the prior events of her life chronicled in this work, it isn’t difficult to accept that they are. However outlandish her life may be, though, there still remains a tangible element of sincerity and authenticity that causes this memoir to be more than simply a collection of funny stories. This is especially true for Oxford’s discussion of her time spent working with the elderly and victims of brain damage, wherein her omnipresent humor is briefly overshadowed by a moving, realistic glimpse into the often-stigmatized lives of those in need of permanent care. The manner in which she describes her experiences with these people is incredibly honest; she is not including them as an ostentatious display of perceived kindness, and this is precisely what makes her so likable.
As her stories decidedly move into the present, one experience in particular that Oxford relays would typically be a bit difficult to speak of without coming across as undeniably crude, but, again, sarcasm and wittiness overpower the awkwardness; she is engaging to the point of a compulsion on the reader’s part to discover how it all will conclude. However, the near ending of the book ultimately contains some of the most enjoyable anecdotes, as it reintroduces Oxford’s son and two daughters, and the inevitable ordered chaos that follows. As in the book’s beginning, the combination of childhood innocence and adult interpretation found here is truly entertaining, but the fact that she is now speaking as a mother herself creates a slightly different tone. For instance, Kelly Oxford’s chronology of her family’s trip to Disneyland is funny by way of her emphasis on the perils of navigating four other people – including a toddler and her comically displeased husband – through an overcrowded theme park, but also heartwarming in that it is apparent she truly wants her family to have an amazing day.
Generally speaking, “Everything Is Perfect When You’re a Liar” is an incredibly entertaining book that lends itself to being reread multiple times without becoming redundant. Kelly Oxford is arguably a brilliantly captivating author who has proved to her Internet followers that she is capable of much more than short blog posts and Twitter updates; she is a literary force to be reckoned with.