Friday, June 6, 2014

Lies We Tell Ourselves by Robin Talley Review

I receive a copy from Harlequin.

"In 1959 Virginia, the lives of two girls on opposite sides of the battle for civil rights will be changed forever.

Sarah Dunbar is one of the first black students to attend the previously all-white Jefferson High School. An honors student at her old school, she is put into remedial classes, spit on and tormented daily.

Linda Hairston is the daughter of one of the town’s most vocal opponents of school integration. She has been taught all her life that the races should be kept “separate but equal.”

Forced to work together on a school project, Sarah and Linda must confront harsh truths about race, power and how they really feel about one another.

Boldly realistic and emotionally compelling, Lies We Tell Ourselves is a brave and stunning novel about finding truth amid the lies, and finding your voice even when others are determined to silence it."

Lies We Tell Ourselves is one of those books that make you cry when you realize how ugly and terrifying this world is. Oh, all the problems of this world. Sexism. Racism. Religious beliefs/differences. Sexuality. Abortion. War. People dying. Diseases. Hunger. Children homeless. Rape. There is too much out there. No wonder why parents want to keep us safe and sound at home. 

Told from two POVs, Lies We Tell Ourselves is one compelling story about racism and sexuality in the late 1950s. I admit that I worry for the author, because Robin Talley is touching on one sensitive topic. (She probably is going to be cyberly attacked by some people). Anyway, I must admit that I focus the most on the racism/segregation part of the book. I didn't really care about Linda and Sarah's sexuality. They could be doing something like kissing or doing it and I wouldn't notice.

Robin Talley's boldness at this sensitive topic is amazing. She did not hold back at all. The horrors and scary events at that time certainly can not be hold in just words. There needs to be raw emotion and tears cried and blood shed. Was there? Why, yes. There was some good raw emotion, tears cried and lost, and blood on the street. I might have to note that the images might be too vivid for younger readers. Still, it is amazing.

Sarah is one of those characters who remains mostly static throughout the entire book. Notice how I say 'mostly static.' She changes a bit, but the change is more subtle than loud like Linda. (Linda is a much different story I will touch on later). Her influence on the world may be small, but she is the first domino to be pushed over, leading a chain effect of events to the thrilling conclusion of Lies We Tell Ourselves.

Linda is my favorite character of this book. I didn't know who she was at first, because I didn't notice the POV switch. (Points docked for that. I always/usually notice a POV switch. This is my first time I didn't see/It might had been hard to read it). She is a dynamic character who changes her views throughout the book. It is obvious what she would do in the end, but you have to amazed when you see everything, all the puzzles and pieces, fall into place. Her biggest move will be...legendary.

Overall, I think that this is a good book everyone should read. Yes, maybe it is too scandalous (for some people), but people have to see problems in this country. Even though it is told in that time and that place, it unsurprisingly mirrors current controversial problems. Sexuality is one unresolved topic in Lies We Tell Ourselves, but I think that accurately matches that time and that place. Equality is the first step. Sexuality? Well, that comes later (which is a fitting ending, because it gives the readers a hint of what is coming next). Like after the setting of Lies We Tell Ourselves.

Rating: Four out of Five

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