Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Books with Unreliable Narrators

A weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish

First a note on unreliable narrators: You may be asking yourself what an unreliable narrator is. All it means is that you can't necessarily trust what they are telling you. A lot of times the narrator will tell you something like they don't remember exactly what happened. Maybe they are a self-proclaimed "liar," perhaps they are a storyteller used to embellishing, or maybe they just tell you they don't remember perfectly what happened. What I love about unreliable narrators is that there is this added level of mystery and confusion with the story. That doubt really makes things interesting for me.

*** Warning that there may be spoilers. I will do my best to be vague but mentioning unreliable narrators can be a spoiler in and of it self. ***

1.) The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood - My Review
Offred, the narrator here, is telling her personal story but refuses to give us her real name. Things are going well until she pauses to tell you that she may not be remembering it exactly the way it happened and she even mentions she wants things to be different.

2.)  Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte - Add to Goodreads
This is one of my all time favorite books and it's because of the dubious nature of the characters which our unrelaiable narrators create for us. I say narrators because we hear the story from one person through another person's story. It's like a game of telephone.

3.) The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger - Add to Goodreads
We're all on the same page with Holden Caulfied, right. He's an unreliable narrator, right. I mean he's completely honest about how he thinks of himself as a huge liar. How can that be anything other than unreliable?

4.) The Perks of Being A Wallflower by Stehen Chbosky - Add to Goodreads
One of the first things Charlie tells us is that he has changed some of the names in the book. But what else has he changed? As the book develops we start to doubt Charlie's ability to tell his story with honesty, but it doesn't make him unlikable. In fact it makes him more sympathetic.

5.) Life of Pi by Yann Martel - Add to Goodreads
This book is an older Pi telling a journalist about what happened when he was shipwrecked. But I mean he was in the open ocean in the heat, he may have imagined a lot of what was happening. Plus I'm still not entirely sure that I understand what happened at the end of this book.

6.) Verity in Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein - My Review
The first half of this story is told from Verity's perspective. She has been captured by the Germans during WWII when her plane crashes and is forced to write down everything she knows. But seriously, how honest is a girl going to be to her enemy?

7.) The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss - My Review
Okay so this one is mostly my personal opinion. But Kvothe is a storyteller, he's used to exaggerating and telling things in a compelling way. He says he's telling the truth but then he quickly moves past a part of his history that should be very compelling, so there's that.

8.)  We Were Liars by E. Lockhart - My Review 
First clue: Our MC and narrator in this story is trying to remember what happened to her the summer before. She has no memory of it. Second clue: one of the first thing that she tells us is that her family are all liars. Third clue: the title.

9.) All Fall Down by Ally Carter - My Review
The main character in this book is constantly reminding us that she's not crazy. Okay, sure, I believe you. But more than that, she firmly believes that something happened and everyone else in her life does not believe her.

10.) Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn - My Review 
This book is a matter of "he said, she said."When Amy goes missing her husband Nick is the prime suspect into her murder. This book is told from him perspective (but can we trust him?) as well as from Amy's diary (but can we trust her?). The two unreliable and odious narrators here is what makes the book so interesting.

11.) Don't Look Back by Jennifer L. Armentrout - My Review
Samantha's and her best friend Cassie goes missing, but only Sam has returned and things don't look good, She doesn't remember anything. Not what happened, not even who she is. Throughout the book she is not only learning about herself but what happened to Cassie.

12.) The Good Girl by Mary Kubica - My Review
This was such a unique read. It is the story of a woman who is kidnapped told from four different perspectives: her, the police investigator, her mother, and the kidnapper. I mean talk about all different angles/ At least a few of those are unreliable most notably Mia.

And those are some of my favorite reads with unreliable narrators. Do you like unreliable narrators? What are some of your favorite reads? Leave me a comment with your thoughts. Thanks for stopping by and HAPPY READING!


  1. Great list. I am in the process of reading The Name of the Wind and its a fantastic book. We Were Liars took me by surprise in the end.

  2. I like unreliable narrators, Psuedonymous Bosch is the only one who comes to my mind, but I know there are others.

  3. Really great list! Unreliable narrators are some of my favorites. There are a few on here that I haven't read but I loved reading Catcher in the Rye and Life of Pi.

  4. The Good Girl sounds great I love unreliable narrators, and the Handmaiden's tale is one of my favorite books for all time! Check out my Top Ten Tuesday

  5. Wow, great list! :) I definitely want to check out All Fall Down.

  6. OOoh great topic choice! I only vaguely remember the Handmaid's Tale but I think I recall not feeling totally trusting of her. That she was unreliable. The same can be said of All Fall Down and Don't Look Back! Loved JLA's thriller debut and All Fall Down was an intriguing read as well!

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  7. I'd never thought of Life of Pi as told from an unreliable narrator's POV, but I like considering it in that light. That ending makes everything we just finished reading suspect, so I totally get why it's on your list. I feel like it gives us two endings to choose from, though, rather than being completely unreliable.

  8. Love this list. The Good Girl has been on my TBR forever.