Friday, 25 March 2016

Lies We Tell Ourselves by Robin Talley

True to form, I moved on to Lies We Tell Ourselves because it was cheap in the Kindle store.  I was a bit concerned that it was going to be a little IN YOUR FACE ISHOOS, and that the characters might suffer as a result.  In fact, the heroine, who, like Faith in The Lie Tree, is quite an angry young woman, is rather wonderful.  The reader is supposed to admire Faith, but I don’t think the reader is expected to like her, since she is a rather unlikeable character.  However, the success of Lies We Tell Ourselves depends on the reader liking the heroine, Sarah.  She is wonderfully drawn, the narrative wonderfully depicts a strong and bright teenage mind in utter turmoil.  Not only does Sarah have to deal with the disgusting behaviour displayed by the white students at her new school, she also has to deal with the realisation that she does not have the feelings she is supposed to have for boys, but she has them for girls instead.

This, rather wonderfully, does not make for a depressing book, although the depiction of racial hatred is often very uncomfortable to read about.  Indeed, the book is full of hope, and of the belief that people can change the world, even if it’s a very little bit at a time.

It’s for the more mature reader. For a start, there are the issues that it deals with, along with the associated language. There is also violence and abuse of innocent young people.  It’s a book that makes the reader angry and motivated to challenge abuses where they are seen, but it is hard hitting.

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