Monday, March 16, 2015

Lies We Tell Ourselves by Robin Talley


Lies We Tell Ourselves by Robin Talley

Review by Lauren

source: library; all opinions are my own

Official Summary: 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.


Review: This novel was one I chose to read for my YA literature class. We had to focus on a title that was historical fiction, and when I read the summary of this book, I had a feeling I would really like it. I was right. This book isn't an easy read and sometimes you really, really dislike the things that people say and do, but it's an important story because these things happened.

It's 1959 Virginia and Sarah is a black girl entering her senior year at Jefferson High, alongside nine other students from her old school. These kids were chosen because they passed tests and showed they were "smart enough" to attend a white school. Jefferson did what it could to keep the school segregated, but now it's time to see what this new law will do.

Sarah and the other new students have it rough. They are yelled at, shoved in the halls, and threatened. Sarah has never been called such hateful names in her life, and she can't stand it, but she's desperate to ignore them as much as she can and protect her sister in whatever way possible.

As for Linda, her dad is vocally against integration and Linda parrots back his words, hoping that it will make him love her more. Linda's not what she seems though. She finds herself sticking up for the new kids in small ways; just enough so she won't be targeted like they are.

Lies We Tell Ourselves goes back and forth between Sarah and Linda, but in sections, so Sarah gets a section of chapters and then Linda, etc. I thought this worked well instead of back and forth each chapter. We start with Sarah and her situation and then we get to Linda and we learn what makes her tick and why she does the things she does, says the things she says.

As the book progresses, Sarah and Linda begin to develop feelings for one another and these are ones that go beyond simple friendship. This makes their burgeoning understanding even more difficult and it's fascinating to see how their senior year plays out.

Definitely recommended!

16 comments:

Melliane said...

This one sounds like a good one even if not an easy one. The topic is quite intriguing and interesting I confess.

Kirsty-Marie Jones said...

Yeah, that does sound like it works better than going back and forth every other chapter, which is why I sometimes hate that format, since you don't get enough time to really connect to one of the characters before it goes to the other. Sounds like a really important story (and I have been meaning to read it since it came out, oops).

Kindlemom said...

This sounds like it would be kind of a difficult read but one that was worth it to read.

Liviania said...

I enjoyed this one, but it was so difficult to read!

Brandi Kosiner said...

The focus on the friendship going beyond the simple sounds nice

Tracy Terry said...

Definitely one for my wish list, thank you.

cleemckenzie said...

Very interesting story line, and all the more interesting because those years of forced integration happened.

Heidi Rainy Day Ramblings said...

I read some brilliant reviews for this one and I like the subject matter. Thanks for the reminder to put this on my list.

Diva Booknerd said...

I love realistic and uncomfortable reads that put the reader in that kind of position. I can imagine how confronting this one is, but it's such an important story to tell. Absolutely lovely review Lauren and so glad you enjoyed this one. Going to grab a copy myself too <3

Medeia Sharif said...

I read this from NetGalley awhile back. It's an amazing read.

Claudia Arroyo said...

The scenes do sound oppressive; do get resolve at the end though? I'm wondering; great review Lauren, you've piqued my interest! :)

Midnight Cowgirl said...

Sounds like a difficult but very interesting read.

kimbacaffeinate said...

You really have me curious Lauren. This isn't something I would want a steady diet of as far as subject matter..but I added to my list.

Loupe Duffy said...

I can't say this is something I'd normally pick up, but this one of the reasons I love reading other peeps' reviews. Now I'm intrigued, even if it does sound like a difficult read.
Thank you.

Marianne Robles said...

Oh I have this one in my Kindle! I really want to read it now. I didn't really know what it was about, but now that I do it sounds wonderful. I am so jealous that you get to read awesome YA for your class.

Marianne @ Boricuan Bookworms.

Lexxie Lin said...

The Lies we Tell Ourselves sounds outstanding, Laura! I am always interested in seeing how some people were able to stand against the violence in small ways, even if they weren't strong enough to do so completely.
I'm adding this to my TBR :) Thanks for sharing.

Lexxie @ (un)Conventional Bookviews