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Minute Review: Lies We Tell Ourselves (Robin Talley)

Lies We Tell OurselvesIn 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. 























Lies We Tell Ourselves was something very unexpected. When I read the synopsis I thought it was a historical fiction book... and it was... but...

There is a very big 'but' that caught me off guard. And if I'm being perfectly honest, I'm not sure how I felt about it.

As a time piece, this book is great. Powerful. Full of everything that is needed to be completely believable. My heart races as these kids walked into the high school. Every jeer and taunt made me grip the book with white knuckles. I was fully submerged in what was happening, and I loved every minute of it. In fact, I even told a former co-worker about the book because this is the period she likes reading about the most. But when I got to the twist, she was like, "What?!"

And that's where I got stuck. I tried to push past it, but it didn't work for me. I just kept going back to how believable that twist might be. I know that special relationships were not mentioned during this time, or at least not written about openly, so I tried to factor that in. But I just couldn't make myself believe that it was real enough for the historical context. Don't get me wrong, though. The author did an amazing job making everything seem real. I'm just not a huge fan of historical fiction to begin with, so it doesn't take much for me to turn against it.

For me, omitting the twist would have made this book perfect. But taking away the twist would have changed these characters drastically. I cannot say that the book would have held the same power and emotion if they were written differently. Sadly, I stopped reading the book about 75 pages from the end. 

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