Review: What I Saw and How I Lied by Judy Blundell


in a sentence or so: Evie, her mom, and her step-dad Joe head to Florida after he returns home from WWII. what Evie believes to be a vacation adventure and potential fresh start for her ho-hum life ends up being a journey from her own naivety to ultimate disillusionment with everyone in her life...herself included.

Evie is insecure, innocent, naive, and unknowingly beautiful. Evie's mom, Bev, is a knock out. Evie is unable to see her own beauty due to feeling eclipsed by her mother's breathtaking good looks and Bev (who has had a hard life being such a pretty gal) is happy to let Evie pass as average. it's not until after they head to Florida that Evie begins to hear and believe herself to be pretty, and begins to dare that the sexy Peter Coleridge, a man from Joe's military company, can actually like (maybe even love) her.

it's important to note Evie's total unawareness of her own beauty because it shows her sheltered and protected existence. so when they go to Florida, Evie begins to hear things, see things, and even sense things that just don't feel right and she isn't sure why. the mysterious Peter Coleridge starts hanging around Evie and her family quite frequently, which she is certainly excited about. but she is aware that there is something funny going on between Joe and Peter. as in, they pretend to like each other but something is going on under the surface and it's really starting to get awkward. she spends her days in Florida getting to know bits and pieces about other hotel guests and daydreaming over Peter while the rest of the characters weave the plot around her. she begins to wonder what Peter's motive is for hanging out with her and her family, why did they really come to Florida, and how long will this facade of a happy and put-together family last?

there is an undercurrent of anxiety and mystery from the beginning. Evie is beginning to emerge from her innocence cocoon and with it she is learning that the people she knows and trusts don't always do things with the best intentions, and that the actions of others aren't always as authentic as she expects them to be. after a tragedy in Florida shrouded in mystery, deceit and lies, Evie comes to the true crossroads of who she is and how she will handle her new found awareness.

the characters are broken. their motives are never quite black and white. while we as the reader are pretty sure what's going on around her, it takes a while for Evie to get the memo and absorb all that's happening. her discovery of self and of others is really the core of this story, and ultimately her internal resolutions at the conclusion of the book justify why her story is one worth hearing. however, i did feel like external resolutions after everything was said and done were a bit hokey. also, the title really does set you up with the two parts of the story - what she saw, and how she lied. simple, yet life-changing for Evie.

fave quote: "I know now how you can take one step and you can't stop yourself from taking another. I know now what it means to want. I know it can get you to a place where there's no way out. I know now that there's no such thing as just one. But I didn't know it then." (42)
fix er up: the ultimate resolution of the characters. the resolution of the plot seemed fitting, but how the characters lives where handled after the fact and their actions were so cheesy.

title: What I Saw and How I Lied
author: Judy Blundell
genre: Historical Fiction, Drama, Problem Novel

Lisa is a gamer, crafter, fangirl, mother, wife and unabashed nerd who is pretty ridiculous and it's best you know that up front. When she's not binge watching Netflix or crafting into the wee hours of the night, you can find her spending a lot of her time on Pinterest and Twitter.

1 comment:

  1. is her mother's marriage a sham? i think i enjoy guessing a book's ending without reading it.

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