Book Review: Lies We Tell Ourselves by Robin Talley

Book Review: Lies We Tell Ourselves by Robin TalleyLies We Tell Ourselves by Robin Talley
Published by Harlequin on January 26th 2016
Rating: five-stars
Genres: Young Adult, Historical, United States, 20th Century, Social Issues, Homosexuality, Social Themes, Prejudice & Racism
Pages: 416
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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 the fact that they may be falling for 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.

Truth #1: I’m terrified to write this review, because there’s not a chance on Earth I will be able to do this amazing book justice. I picked this book up in a whim from the library, it was among others being highlighted and I liked the sound of it, so I got it. And I didn’t expect the book to have such an impact on me that it had! The only other book I’ve read set during this time was The Help by Kathryn Stockett (which is one of my absolute favourite books, ever) and the two novels are completely different, mind. Though they both made me feel the same: that coloured people were treated so poorly back then. I mean it’s hardly FANTASTIC now, over 50 years later, but back then? It makes me want to cry. To see how Sarah and the others were treated made me want to sob my heart out.

Not only is the book set in the time of black students integrating with white students, but it’s clear that, despite the fact their skin colour is different, Sarah and Linda have some kind of connection, and that’s what kept me reading, because they just wound each other up something chronic, but it made the book spark to life, to see them arguing and both of them thinking they were right. Of course it was also infuriating that they had to argue over whether black people should be allowed to go to school with white people. I long for the world where people are just people, not judged by their race, sexual orientation, gender, anything. (Will we ever get there is the question, mind.)

I raced through Lies We Tell Ourselves, putting it down only at midnight because I had to work the next day and if I hadn’t gone to bed I would have finished the novel in the wee small hours and most likely have been the worst grump ever the next day. I honestly can’t do this book justice, but it moved me, and I really, really think that you should just READ THIS BOOK. OKAY? Just read it.


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