Saturday, 10 June 2017

Book Review: Lies We Tell Ourselves by Robin Talley

Book: Lies We Tell Ourselves
Author: Robin Talley
Genres: YA, Historical

Lie #1: I'm not afraid 
Lie #2: I'm sure I'm doing the right thing 
Lie #3: I don't care what they think of me 
It’s 1959. The battle for civil rights is raging. And it’s Sarah’s first day of school as one of the first black students at previously all-white Jefferson High. 
No one wants Sarah there. Not the Governor. Not the teachers. And certainly not the students – especially Linda, daughter of the town’s most ardent segregationist. 
Sarah and Linda are supposed to despise each other. But the more time they spend together, the less their differences matter. And both girls start to feel something they’ve never felt before. Something they’re determined to ignore. 
Because it’s one thing to stand up to an unjust world – but another to be terrified of what’s in your own heart.- Quoted from Goodreads

My Rating: 5/5 STARS
My Review:
This book is set in 1959 during the time of desegregation in schools and the book follows the point of view of Sarah who is one of the first black students to enter a school that previously had only white students and Linda who is a white student who is currently studying at the school.  So from the blurb alone you know how hard hitting the story will be but I was still very shocked at how this book made me feel.  My emotions were all over the place.

The book opens with Sarah's pov on the first day of the desegregation so we (the readers) are thrown straight into the thick of the racism and I wish I could say it got easier for Sarah as it went on but unfortunately that wasn't the case.  I felt disgusted by each new horror Sarah and her friends had to discover each day they went to school.  

I loved Sarah and I thought she was a very strong character and I also liked her sister Ruth and her friends Chuck and Ennis and although the book is from Sarah and Linda's pov I liked how we got an insight into the other characters lives through them.
Linda's character confused me.  She sees the wrongness and unfairness of it all but she still holds onto some of her core racist views.  So even by the end of the book I still didn't know how I felt about her character. 

Sarah and Linda's relationship is another main theme of the book.  In the midst of all that is going on they are struggling to come to terms with their sexuality.  I really liked reading about both Sarah's and Linda's realisations on both themselves and the society they live in.

Obviously this book is not a happy fun read, it's brutal and raw and it really pulls on your emotions.  I loved this book because it's an emotionally thought provoking book with a powerful message. It's a story that will always stand out in my head and because of that I would highly recommend reading it.

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