Pretty Little Ethical Conundrums: Pretty Little Liars Review

Pretty Little Liars - Sara Shepard

I know I am a little late to review this book since it was published a few years ago and even turned into a TV series, which I haven't watched, not yet. But I happened to read the novel recently, and I liked it. I really did. The only problem was that I couldn't quite understand the ethical layout of the book. As it is I am sure universally known the book is about four girls who used to be friends with each other and one other girl who mysteriously disappeared at the very beginning of the book. After her disappearance, the four girls go on their separate ways, but keep receiving messages from someone who signs with the first initial of the disappeared girl: A.

I'll concentrate on one of the girls, let's say, Aria, although the ethical-ambiguity case can be made for all the girls in the novel possibly excepting Spencer, who has no redeeming qualities, none that I noticed at least. Anyway, back to Aria. There are two big things/events that we get to know about her life. Thing Number 1: when she was fourteen or around that age, she caught her father kissing one of his students in a car. She does not tell this to her mother, however, because her dad asks her not to. Later she receives several messages from A, who taunts her about this event as well as rebukes her for not telling her mom about it. So, is Aria a liar? Technically, yes. She does not tell her mom about what she saw. But in reality how can a kid be a liar if her parent pressured her into lying?

Thing Number 2: Aria has sex with a guy who later turns out to be her new English teacher. Now, it is specified that the guy is young, but still, he is older than Aria and, as a teacher, he should sever the relationship, but no, it goes on. Does that make her a liar? I don't think so. Her teacher is an adult who has sex with a minor, and like I said, it was on him to stop the relationship.

Based on these two events, Aria is branded as a liar by the title. Why? Sure, she is not entirely truthful, but it's not her fault. Especially Thing Number 1. Which, I am certain, is a very traumatic experience for a child. But perhaps that's why there's a word "little" in the title. It signals that Aria is not a big serious liar, but just a little one. Just a fibber. But that makes light of her traumatic experience of catching her dad cheating on her mom, doesn't it? Which can't be the author's intention. I'm pretty sure it can't be.