Saturday, November 30, 2013

My take on: Lies You Wanted to Hear

Sometimes it helps to hear a lie instead of the truth. It hurts to hear the truth. Sometimes it makes you feel better to be in denial. Eventually you start to believe the lies told to you. You start telling your own lies, and you begin to believe those too. What happens when those lies catch up to you? Will your world totally collapse? Will you have the strength to pick up the pieces?

All of that and more is going on in Lies You Wanted to Hear by James Whitefield Thomson.

Matt was a man who lived by rules and reason. He stays inside the lines. But after a blind date with the free-spirited Lucy, Matt is immediately smitten. Lucy is wild. Lucy is outspoken. Lucy doesn't take life too seriously. Lucy is the opposite of Matt. Reading the book, I thought he should just run from her. Lucy is still pining away for her on-again off-again boyfriend Griffin. Matt is more of a distraction for Lucy than actual boyfriend material. Matt is the man you take home to meet your parents. Griffin is the man you sneak around with in the backseats of cars and seedy motel rooms. But Lucy doesn't want to hurt Matt. She can't find reasons to end their relationship. She keeps telling herself that one day the sparks will fly. One day Lucy will wonder what her life was like without Matt -- that is until Griffin comes back.

Griffin has a psychological and emotional hold over Lucy. There is a place inside her heart that Matt can never reach. But life has a funny way of working out. A surprise pregnancy forces Lucy to make a choice. A choice between a safe and secure life with Matt or a drug-fueled and unstable one with Griffin. For the sake of her unborn child, Lucy chooses Matt. But was it the right choice? Lucy tries to convince herself that the life of a suburban housewife was the right choice. She loves her children, Sarah and Nathan, but still feels disconnected from them and from Matt. Why can't she be like other mothers? A bout of depression nearly ruins her marriage. She resents Matt and his cheerful disposition. She hates him for always being the responsible one in the marriage. It's like she's looking for a reason to leave him. She's looking for a reason to leave her safe and secure life.

Of course Griffin comes back to stir the pot. Their affair offers Lucy a way out of the marriage. But at what cost? Divorce and custody proceedings bring Matt to his breaking point. He makes a very desperate choice.


If you're still reading, don't say I didn't warn you. Some reviews I've seen tell of this next plot point. To me it's a bit of a spoiler, so I decided to put in a little warning.

Matt decides to kidnap the kids and change their identities. He's telling himself that it's for the sake of the kids. But is that the truth? In his mind he's protecting the kids. He's taking them away from an irresponsible parent. He's taking them away from her dangerous boyfriend. He's not punishing Lucy. This is what Lucy deserves. He had the right to do this.

The book is told from Lucy and Matt's perspective. Each person believes they are the wronged party. Sometimes they fail to see the part they played in the demise of their relationship. Lucy was certainly an absent-minded parent, but does that mean she deserves the ultimate punishment of having her children taken away? I went back-and-forth with this book. One moment I'm on Matt's side and the next I'm on Lucy's. Who is right here? Neither one of them. They could only see what was being done to them. Sometimes this felt like the TV movie of the week, but it was an emotional and engaging read.

Rating: Give it a try

Note: I received an e-galley from the publisher (Sourcebooks) in exchange for an honest review.

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