Lies We Tell Ourselves by Robin Talley
Published by Harlequin Teen
Read in: October 2017
Source: Personal Collection
Add to: Goodreads
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.
Boldly realistic and emotionally compelling, Lies We Tell Ourselves is a brave and stunning novel about finding truth amid the lies, and finding your voice even when others are determined to silence it. - via GoodReads
I’ve been interested in Lies We Tell Ourselves by Robin Talley since I first read the synopsis a few years ago. There just aren’t a lot of books written about the years between the end of WWII and contemporary fiction. I think it’s why I enjoyed The Help so much.
Reading about Civil Rights and events such as Virginia schools being forced to integrate really brings it to life. During my lifetime the majority of the Civil Rights movement was over. (There is still room for improvement!) It made me understand that 40 to 50 years ago life was far form what my life was like. I was so uncomfortable reading this book. I can’t tell you how many times I cringed when I read about how the first few black students were treated; how teachers ignored the things that were happening.
I feel like the story arc of sexuality distracted from the integration story arc. Not only did we have integration to conquer but sexuality as well. In 1959 that would have been considered two strikes against a person. That doesn’t mean that I think there weren’t people who faced these social issues at that time. It felt disjointed. I don’t feel like the sexuality aspect was terribly realistic in a book that was pretty realistic about integration. I felt like something was being added because it sounded good but wasn’t fleshed out enough.