Wednesday, January 14, 2015

We Were Liars by E. Lockhart

     "I knew what I was supposed to say.  "I'm more than okay there, I'm fantastic.  I love Windermere because you built it specially for Mummy.  I want to raise my own children there and my children's children.  You are so excellent, Granddaad.  You are the patriarch and I revere you.  I am so glad I am a Sinclair.  This is the best family in America."  
     No in those words.  But I was meant to help Mummy keep the house by telling my grandfather that he was the big man, that he was the cause of all our happiness, and by reminding him that I was the future of the family.  The all-American Sinclairs would perpetuate ourselves, tall and white and beautiful and rich, if only he let Mummy and me stay in Windermere.  

     My mother and her sisters were dependent on Granddad and his money.  They had the best educations, a thousand chances, a thousand connections, and still they'd ended up unable to support themselves."  Page 161

This book is really hard to talk about without giving everything away, and I've never been one for spoilers.  I'm fairly certain everything matched up, but I'd have to read it a second time to be sure.  

Seventeen year-old Cadence (who I accidentally named 'Candice' for nearly the entire book) has had an accident, a head injury, and some very time specific memory loss.  The book is about her trying to fill in the gaps.

Her family is extraordinarily wealthy and spends the summers on their private island off the coast of Massachusetts.  It is there, two summers ago, that she had her accident.  She spends her time with two cousins, Johnny and Mirren, and falls in love with Gat; Johnny's best friend who also spends summers there.

With the obvious exception of Gat, an Indian boy, Cadences's family is the most stereotypically wealthy--and shallow--whitest, white people ever: super wealthy, uber-American and either blissfully ignorant to the world around them or willfully bestowed with a powerful sense of entitlement.

Cadence calls them 'liars,' her whole family but primarily in reference to her three compainions.  I felt the term a bit harsh when she defined it and it never really set well with me in the end either, but I certainly understood the idea in which she was trying to apply the term too: that they could all lie to themselves and others about the idea of their family, the state of the rest of the world, even tragedy and death, all to support the perfect image of their family.

So much of the book is lesuirely that I was nearly begging to be told 'What was her accident?' just to have some point of tension to move on to as opposed to moving on from the incessent milieu of  Cadence's day-to-day activities and migraines, which really wasn't terribly interesting.

I don't think Lockhart could have told the story in any other way.  As the climax in the past unfolds the previous present events are cast in a new light and all the stories content has new meaning.  It was a surprise ending that certainly caught me off guard and felt genuinely satisfying--not a mere cheap trick.

It's a simple and easy read and well worth the time it takes to get through it.  This was a good way to start the year-in-reading.


Maria said...

Glad that you liked it. Welcome back :)

Marion said...

Wow, I'd never heard of it before today.

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