Sunday, 26 October 2014

Lies We Tell Ourselves by Robin Talley

Lies We Tell Ourselves
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.

This is historical fiction. If you dislike historical fiction, then I urge you to pick this up, as it will change your perspective completely.

Lies We Tell Ourselves is about Sarah. Along with 9 other teenagers in 1959, they are the first black students to transfer to an all white high school. Whether it be the staff or students, nobody is happy about this. The novel is also about Linda, a girl campaigning for segregation to remain in place as the students arrive at her school. 

Talley dealt with two subjects (Racism/ Civil Rights and LGBT) that are controversial in fiction so well. This lead onto her combining these themes into a dark, brilliant tale. Taking this into context; not only was it a bad time to be of black ethnicity, but homosexuality was illegal across the world. Both of these were written about with a well executed serious nature that was not disrespectful.

Having now read this, my suggestion is that you go into Lies We Tell Ourselves knowing not much at all. Yes, the cover and blurb may give some things away, but that the best advice I have on this book.  A dual perspective means that you are given bits of information in a slow progression that spurs you on to keep reading. 

The characters are richly developed and the prose is stunning. This is one of those books where it never felt wrongly paced, too long or short. For the message this book was trying to deliver - Lies We Tell Ourselves was perfect.

Holly x

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