Author: Robin Talley
Published: October 3rd 2014
Publisher: Mira INK
Length: 336 pages
Source: Publisher for review
Buy: The Book Depository
It's 1959. The battle for civil rights is raging. And it's Sarah Dunbar's first day of school, as one of the first black students at the previously all-white Jefferson High. No one wants Sarah there. Not the Governor. Not the teachers. And certainly not the students – especially Linda Hairston, daughter of the town’s most ardent segregationist. Sarah and Linda have every reason to despise each other. But as a school project forces them to spend time together, the less their differences seem to matter. And Sarah and Linda start to feel something they've never felt before. Something they're both determined ignore. Because it's one thing to be frightened by the world around you - and another thing altogether when you're terrified of what you feel inside.
Lies We Tell Ourselves is more than just a book; it’s a reading experience, and a painful one at that. On page 7, I started clutching the book tightly, bracing myself for the pain it would inevitably bring. On page 11, tears were already streaming down my face and I wasted no effort in trying to suppress them.
Lies We Tell Ourselves is a story about two girls, as different as they can possibly be, but both incredibly brave in their own ways. Sarah is one of the first students to set foot into a previously all-white school and Linda is her exact opposite – a privileged white girl determined to make Sarah’s life miserable.
As hard as it is to like Linda at first, one can’t really blame her for her attitude. It’s all she’s ever known, all she’s been taught by her parents and other authority figures. Given the chance, she quickly realizes that her worldview makes little sense and the slow changes in her attitude start. How things unravel from there is both beautiful and extremely painful and the girls have to fight more than just prejudice if they’re to live the lives they both deserve.
Lies We Tell Ourselves is a heartbreaking book, but it is also filled with hope and love and eye-opening moments. I loved Sarah’s family, their courage and integrity. I admired Sarah for her strength and resolve and in the end, Linda completely won me over with her willingness to do what’s right at any cost.
I’ll admit that the romance seemed a bit superfluous at times, but by the end, it brought the point home nicely. Just because we’re fighting one big battle doesn’t mean we’re somehow exempt from others that may come our way and when they do, the first one has either broken us or prepared us to fight whatever we need to in order to survive. Linda and Sarah chose to fight for their lives and their love and while the world may not have been ready for them, they were certainly ready for each other.
A copy of this book was kindly provided by the publisher for review purposes. No considerations, monetary or otherwise, have influenced the opinions expressed in this review.
Each chapter of this book is prefaced by a lie one of the girls has to tell herself in order to survive. I don't lie to myself that often - I'm very analytical and self-aware - but every now and then a girl needs a white lie to get through the day.
I have been challenged by the lovely ladies at Mira INK to share one of those lies with you.
Challenge accepted, ladies!