We compare things all the time whether it’s fair or not. Having just finished We Were Liars, I can’t help but wish that Genuine Fraud was told with such brutal honesty. I want to care about the characters as I cared about the loss of life and potential in We Were Liars. And that lack of empathy is the primary reason I couldn’t get into Genuine Fraud.
I couldn’t see myself in Jule because I would not only never do the things she did, but I couldn’t even justify them for her sake. Instead, I moved from intrigue to disgust as the novel progressed. And it never got better.
I’m not saying it’s not worth reading if you like unreliable narrators who commit atrocious crimes and tell their stories from back to front to keep you guessing. By all means, pull it off the shelf. You might love it. I am saying that the reverse order and interesting storytelling didn’t do enough for me to think about it fondly after having finished.
My personal feelings aside, here’s a look at how the scenes functioned. And head’s up, I’m going back to the order within the novel as opposed to chronologically.
Once more, be warned. Spoilers Ahead.
Jule is in a hotel in Mexico on the run from a women who somehow knows the truth about who she is. As the story progresses, we learn how Jule ends up in Mexico in reverse order.
- Inciting Incident. Jule must escape a woman who knows she’s American and has found her from her hiding place in Mexico.
- Complication. Imogen has supposedly killed herself and left Jule and her boyfriend, Forrest, alone in England.
- Crisis. In England, Jule has to figure out how to keep her con going when Forrest and Pablo are about to run into each other. If they talk, Forrest will figure out that Pablo think’s she’s Imogen, but if she acts weird to separate them, he might also get suspicious.
- Climax. Jule feigns being sick and offends Forrest in the process of getting him and Pablo apart.
- Resolution. Jule ends up alone in England.
Jule tries to placate Brooke and ends up killing her to keep the secrets from coming out. We later find out that she’s also killed Imogen.
- Inciting Incident. Jule brutally ends things with Pablo and ends up in San Francisco.
- Complication. Brooke confronts Jule for her weird relationship with Imogen.
- Crisis. Jule’s stories are unraveling. Should she kill Brooke and risk getting caught for murder, or let things play out and risk Brooke catching on to the fact that Jule is taking over Imogen’s life.
- Climax. Jule beats up Brooke and throws her over the side of a cliff.
- Resolution. Back in time, we find out that Jule started out in Martha’s Vineyard before England.
In a cruel twist of fate, we learn that Imogen’s parent’s hired Jule to look after their daughter after she ran away and that Jule will not only get away with her crimes, but that because she’s basically stolen Imogen’s identity, she’s ruined Imogen’s memory by essentially framing her for the crime.
- Inciting Incident. Imogen invites Jule to Puerto Rico to get away for a while.
- Complication. Imogen is pulling away from Jule and Jule doesn’t know how to handle it.
- Crisis. Does Jule let Imogen pull away and go on with her life without the money and lifestyle she’s been enjoying, or does she fight?
- Climax. Jule kills Imogen with an oar, pretends to be her and gives her fortune away to Jule.
- Resolution. We find out that Imogen’s parents are the ones who asked Jule to find her, that Jule never knew Imogen before she took over her life, and that Noa believes that Jule is Imogen and that Jule herself is dead.