I’ve discussed YA-books about the LGBT before, but for some reason there is something about teenage drama in a (mental) place of conflict that just pulls the reader in. Lies we tell ourselves is no different, and yet it is.
History has this nasty habit of repeating itself, over and over again while it sometimes seems like no one learns. Or at least, not really. When I finished reading Lies we tell ourselves I smiled and yet I wanted to cry. It showed once again how little we as mankind have learned since the ‘60’s. There are still so many people who do not seem to want others to be happy, who seem perfectly happy to separate the world between “us” and “them”. And yet, the book also inspires you to be brave, and be proud.
A strong main character is always a big plus in a book, but there is something as overdoing it. There are many main’s that seem perfect. They are strong, brave, kind, loveable, and they are very tempting to write because they’re easy. And because of all of that, they are utterly boring.
When you take away all fewer desirable traits you get a hero, but not a relatable human being. Not a persona that one can identify themselves with and feel a connection with. Lies we tell ourselves manages to avoid this classic trap, by creating humans who all have their flaws and doubts. Children, adults, teachers, friends, it is easy to be the bystander and contemplate why people do the way things do in this book. It is still easy to dislike someone, but at least it’s with a good reason (or good enough). And because of this it’s hard not to admire Sarah for her fight, and her ongoing persistence.
Lies we tell ourselves is a book about keeping your head cool while facing a hostile world. Even though it’s the hard tale of the LGBT and black community, it is also a little bit about every other struggle women have felt in the world, and that teenagers feel when searching themselves and their own place in the world. It is a story about fights that are still not over, but also shows that the world will not crush those fights and their spirit into the ground. And it’s a read that I will definitely reopen again in a bit of time.
Lies we tell Ourselves
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.
Robin Talley. Lies we tell Ourselves / HarperCollins / 9781848452923