Lies We Tell Ourselves by Robin Talley | Weaving Pages: Lies We Tell Ourselves by Robin Talley

Friday, 5 September 2014

Lies We Tell Ourselves by Robin Talley

Hello Everyone!

I received this book from the publisher via Edelweiss, so thank you to them for allowing me to review it! I was really looking forward to reading this because of the issues it tackles, but for some reason, I didn't love it as much as I had hoped...


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Title: Lies We Tell Ourselves
Author: Robin Talley
Series: N/A
Source: Publisher (Edelweiss)
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Release Date: September 30th 2014
No. of Pages: 304
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. -(Goodreads)
3.5 stars: Page thinks this book was good, but didn't
make him fly.

Ever since I read The Help (before this blog was even started) I have always been on the look out for books- amazing, thought provoking books -dealing with racism and the struggle against it. This is probably the simplest explanation as to why as soon as I heard about Lies We Tell Ourselves, I knew I had to read it. Whilst I wouldn't label it amazing or thought provoking, I would recommend it to others who, like me, enjoy books that deal with the ever present issues in society. 

Like I said, this isn't a book I would call amazing, and when I looked at the reviews on Goodreads, I saw that the rating mainly consisted of 4 and 5 stars. When I saw that, I promptly questioned my own opinion of the book: Was I meant to have loved it? Yes, I liked it, but not enough to give away 5 stars. So instead, I thought about why I am only giving 3.5 stars, which (to be clear) isn't a bad rating at all.
      The answer that came to mind was 'feeling'. I liked this book, and I will go into detail later on, but what I felt that this book missed was how it made me feel. By the time I finished the final page, I wasn't feeling passionate. Or awed, thoughtful or mind blown. I was simply contented, but I need to feel all those things I listed, especially when it comes to a book like this, to love something.
     The thing is, for me, a book can hit all the right marks technically, and I am still capable of hating it. How I rate a book is completely dependant on how I am left feeling after it, and then when I sit down to write a review, I think about the parts to the book that made me want to shout from the rooftops, whether it be the descriptive writing, an OTP, or an important issue which the book has reminded me of my passion for helping the cause. I need those things from a 5 star book, and though this is a good book, it didn't hit that major mark for me. 

Now that I've got all that feelings stuff out of the way, I want to just focus on the things that made this a good book. Firstly, I enjoyed the fact that a variety of issues were dealt with instead of just one. Sometimes introducing more than one issue can end up being a bit confusing for the reader, but with Lies We Tell Ourselves, this didn't happen as I felt that I was introduced to the main issue, and then I was left to spot the other issues for myself, allowing me to have some space for thought. I think that having more than one issue present was a nice reminder that even in times where racism was a very big problem among society, it didn't mean that there weren't other issues there too, such as sexism and people's opinion on sexuality. It just meant that people weren't aware there was a problem already. When you think about it even more, it makes you realise that there are still lots of problems today, ones we might not even realise yet, but the good thing is that there is always hope that someone will do something about it. Lies We Tell Ourselves is just as applicable to the time of it's setting as it is to now.

Despite finishing this with a lack of feelings towards the book, I can say that it was hard-hitting and as I read it, I found myself horrified at how the black students were being treated. I honestly wanted nothing more than to show the white students how wrong they were and it was just so frustrating reading about something that you can't change. If I felt that way, I can't imagine how the people receiving the abuse were feeling, and I hold the utmost respect for the bravery in their actions. I find that whilst you hear a lot about the abuse and horrific things people were put through, just because of the colour of their skin, it never hits as hard as it does when you read a book that includes the feelings and experiences of those people, especially when a book is in 1st person. I think that's why I find books like this so important.

I think that the author made one of the best decisions ever when she decided to use dual points of view. I can't think of any other way the storytelling would have worked as well because I think it's what brought the story together.
      Apart from doing just that, I felt that the dual POVs really helped bring two sides of the story to the situation, so you got a much better understanding. They also really developed the story and aided the character growth strongly, as you could witness the character's opinions develop along with the story. I found the dual points of view to be the golden part of the book, in my opinion.

Though both the narrators were excellent characters, I found my favourite to be Linda, who was one of the white students at the integrating school. Funnily enough, at the first sign that the book was switching points of view I found myself to be expecting a stretch of boredom during Linda's point of view but instead, it was quite the opposite. 
    My favourite part of seeing everything through Linda's eyes was that from the very first word, it was glaringly obvious that Linda is basically a puppet. All her opinions were fed to her by those surrounding her, and she provided the reality of how hard it is to get away from the preconceived notions society has set. In response to this, I loved seeing Linda step away from the beliefs she had been taught and make her own. She seized her life and became her own person, all the while showing the struggle of how it can be so hard to do just that. It is the exact sort of situation where it's 'Easier said than done.'
Lies We Tell Ourselves had everything you could possibly want, and I would recommend it to others, but annoyingly I felt a lack of connection and feeling towards it.

Bye! xx




rita xo

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