Lies We Tell Ourselves by Robin Talley (Review)


I received this free from the publishers via NetGalley


Release Date – October 3rd

1959 and the civil rights movement is fighting. Sarah Dunbar is starting her first day of Jefferson High, and she is one of the first black student to start there. She is met with hatred, violence, abuse and vulgar insults. Sarah, and the other black students are on their own, and the only people that will look out for them, are themselves. The teachers won’t help, neither will the Governor, and the students are who they need protection from. Linda Hairston is the daughter of the town’s most devoted segregationist, and Sarah is forced to work with her on a school project which leads her down an unexpected road with unexpected feelings.

For starters, I am just going to say that the title The Lies We Tell Ourselves fits perfectly with the story. It is a very powerful story, and a story that makes you lose faith in the human race, especially considering racism is still alive and well in our day and age, a time when you think people would have overcome it, and not still think that skin colour makes an individual inferior.The Lies We Tell Ourselves really does make you think, how an earth can someone treat another human being like that? It brings the issue of racism right to the front of the story, but racism is not the only issue it brings to the forefront. But also sexism and internalized homophobia. I would imagine that The Lies We Tell Ourselves was an incredible hard book to write, but I believe Robin Talley did it splendidly.

Sarah was a fantastic character, and I can’t stress that enough. She is a character that you deeply admire because she is not taking the easy road. What she went through at that school would make anyone want to go back to her old school, but she persevered, and that just shows how strong she is to push through that fear that she would have felt every single morning. She had so much patience and always seemed to have her head held high. Her development was superb. She was also having feelings she felt made her bad, and made her feel like she had sinned and that she was unnatural. She seemed to hate herself for how she felt, but I like that she learned to accept herself, that she is not unnatural. She really is an inspiring character.

Linda was infuriating, and she really did make my blood boil. She would just recycle a load of rubbish that her father had drilled into her, and she didn’t seem to have a mind of her own. Despite Sarah pointing the truth out to her, she refused to believe it, yet she knew that there was truth in what Sarah said. She is a character you do grow to care about, and she helps Sarah accepts herself, but she is still somewhat racist at the end of the book. But it does go to show that racism is so deeply embedded, then and now, in some people’s minds, and it adds more realism to the character.

While at points I liked the romance, I could not understand how Sarah could fall for Linda, because most of what came out of her mouth was offensive to Sarah. Yet Sarah was good for her, and she did manage to sway how Linda thinks and feels. Sarah managed to give her a mind of her own, and helped her escape the clutches of her father.

Overall, a very powerful read that I would recommend to anyone.

MY RATING: ★★★★★

Pre-order at Book Depository


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