Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Books I've Loved: Lies We Tell Ourselves

This is a really exciting book.  It's based on historical fact and is eye-opening in the way it brings to life just how difficult it must have been for those kids who were brave enough to be the first black kids in white schools.

Told in alternating perspectives to show both the black and the white experience of integration, the book manages to add in another layer as well when the black girl, Sarah, and he white girl, Julie begin to form a friendship that grows into something more than just a friendship.

On paper it sounds like there could be too many issues dealt with in a single book, but the different strands work well together.  It's not an easy read because some of the indignities Sarah faces are so awful it's hard not to put the book down.

This is a book that made me think a lot and feel a lot.  And not always good thoughts or feelings either. But sometimes the best books are the ones that make you a little bit uncomfortable and this is definitely one of those books.

And if you don't believe me, here's the blurb:

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.


  1. Sounds like a good read to add to my list. Nice week!

  2. I remember hearing about this book and thinking how I wanted to read it. I'm glad you reminded me. It really sounds difficult, good but difficult.

  3. I have no problem believing this. Life was hectic then, and now days - I still wonder if my generation realized how little influence we had, or thought we had, to improve liberty.