“…It’ll be okay,’ I told her, awkwardly placing my hand on her back. Some people just knew what to do in those moments. Robin’s mom would say something like, ‘Aw, honey, everything ‘ll turn out. Just you wait.’ In our case, though, things wouldn’t turn out all right, especially now, since Mom wanted to move us halfway across the country. If only I were strong enough to yell at her and convince her that moving was a stupid idea, then maybe we could stay where we belonged. One day I’d stand up to her. But for now, I kept my words safe inside me, alongside my pounding heart…”
It’s 1974, for the rest of the world, the Nixon Watergate scandal is in full bloom and the country is reeling from the truth that their leader has been lying to them all along. But for thirteen year old Martie Wheeler, her own personal world is falling apart. Her father has just died from a sudden heart attack and two young girls have gone missing from a local mall. To deal with the loss of their father, Martie’s mother decides to sell the family home in Maryland and move Martie and her sister Blaire to Milwaukee nearer to family. But the move does not answer Martie’s questions. How can her dad have just died like that. Why weren’t there any warning signs? And how could two girls just disappear?
Piece by piece, Martie begins to understand the truth of what happened and why they had to move. Little by little she uncovers the lies she has been told. Until all that is left is the painful reality of what happened.
It is difficult to write this review without giving away the hidden secrets to this novel and those of you who have read my reviews in the past know how much I hate that. So I am going to tell you very little else about the novel itself and instead concentrate on what sold me on this one.
Story. Story. Story.
A good story in the hands of a compelling storyteller will keep you engaged. At no time did I feel like I was reading a novel. I was instead, a voyeur into the pain and heartache of a young girl whose world has been tossed upside down. I lived and breathed Martie Wheeler. I felt her angst, her sorrow and her loss. I went through intervals of wanting to hug and wanting to slap some sense into her. Even though I could see the truth before she came to realize it, I understood that this was because she was in denial. Unwilling and unable to accept the truth she so diligently fought for. The truth that was worse than the lies she was made to believe in.
The Lies We Tell is a tale of pain and grief and the stark and unyielding power of truth.
At its worst it is a Lifetime movie you will watch and then feel guilty about later. At its best it is profound and compelling and will keep its hold on you long after the last page is flipped. Holland has created a main character that is as real as anyone you will talk with today and she has surrounded Martie with a cast of intricately rounded characters that will leave their own impact on your emotions.
A terrific read.