Book Review: Lies We Tell Ourselves

Posted June 25, 2015 by Pixie in book review, Pixie / 1 Comment

Book Review: Lies We Tell OurselvesLies We Tell Ourselves by Robin Talley
Published by Harlequin, Harlequin Teen on October 1st 2014
Genres: historical, young adult
Pages: 304
Format: ARC
Source: BEA

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.

I received this book for free from BEA in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

There are rare moments in a reader’s life when you pick up a book and it impacts you in ways that words can’t even begin to describe what you’re left feeling at the end. The emotion I still have from Lies We Tell Ourselves is a huge chaotic thunderstorm inside my head. Where do I begin?

I’ll admit that before I started reading, I didn’t know what to expect. So I didn’t take it too seriously at first. I thought it was going to be another quick read. I knew absolutely nothing about it other than it was a historical set in the 50’s (yes, I was too lazy to read the synopsis). Oh boy… it took me by complete surprise within two pages, and shocked me by the amount of racial slurs used within the first chapter alone. My heart had shattered into a million pieces for these characters ten times over before I could even get through twenty pages.

The slurs might bother some people. They bothered me, reading so many at times, but I do understand in ways Talley’s style and use of them throughout the context for the historical impact. The author did a great job of creating the scenes to provide a visual of the time period’s violence and most perceptions made… and when I say great job, I really mean I often felt emotionally drained and sorrowed.

So why torture myself with such a thing?? Because it’s deep and thought-provoking and every person on this planet, especially right now, should read this book. But also, there are moments where small light shines through just enough to make you smile and be so happy for these characters.

Sometimes it was a real struggle to read this book– not because it was bad, but the immediate empathy and emotional attachment… All I could do was continuously set the book down and cry for these characters, cry for the real people that felt pain like this through life. It struck me hard, and left scars all over my soul.


Pixie Sig Plant

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