Lies we tell ourselves by Robin Talley


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.

My Thoughts

Lies we Tell Ourseleves is a book I won’t ever forget for many reasons but mainly because it thought me people can change and not to judge others, no matter their opinions and if you agree with them or not. This book was thought provoking and powerful. I think everyone should read it. It should be read in schools. Both our main characters are dealing with their own problems and both are struggling at first to see light at the end of the tunnel. They don’t have hope but soon that changes.

I won’t sugar coat it because at times this book was hard to read. I normally read books to forget the harshness that is reality so for me reading this, I struggled but I’m glad I finished. There is racism, homophobia, abuse. Sometimes it was hard to stomach but I read on. I wanted to scream and slap so many characters is this book. The author really knows how to portray what she wants you to see. People did go through this.

My favorite part of the book was the growth of both Sarah and Linda. We start the book with Sarah taking us with her as she starts her first day in an all white school along with ten others. She’s terrified. To be honest I was clueless as to what to expect and like Sarah I myself didn’t think it would be that bad. I mean not everyone was that cruel. I was wrong. Sarah and her friends do not get a good time at school. That’s putting it lightly.  Not only did the students treat them horrendously but the teachers( though not all) were just as evil. Honestly Sarah is one strong woman. She was bearly 18 years old. I admire the way Sarah kept her shoulders high and strolled them halls day after day even as the students and some horrible teachers were against her. Sarah went through hell and back in that school but she came out winning. She’s a character who was both brave and strong. She also stood up for what was right and not just against the white people. Her parents aswell. Who I know wanted to make a stand but putting their children through that.

Linda. Linda, linda linda. She surprised me and was the character that thought me the very valuable lesson. At the beginning Linda’s chapters were hard to read. Mainly I just wanted to bitch slap some sense into her. Then I sat back and opened my mind. Linda, at first, doesn’t know any better. She was a child poisoned into believing something wrong with no-one to tell her otherwise. She kept them believes as she grew up and she honestly thought she was right. Fear of her father, who is a grade A Ba****d if I do say so myself, stopped her seeing what was wrong. Throughout the book piece by piece that changes. Linda changes. I have to say it takes true strength to stand up against everything you were brought up to believe and say it’s wrong. She changes her whole life in that moment. I was proud. I felt in her own way Linda did what she thought right. I’m not going to say she completely changed, because that would be a lie and also unbelievable. She still kept some believes, not as awful as other but still not full equality, Linda’s change was believable and I admire her for that.

Overall I don’t think I’d be forgetting this book anytime soon. It was amazing. I do have one or two things I had issues with. They were stupid issues really compared to the message the book portrays but nonetheless I didn’t like them. The ending wasn’t as fulfilled as I would have liked. I was happy with what happened but I wanted more. The book is very good and I do reccomend you give it shot. It may surprise you because it did me.

4/5 Stars.



One thought on “Lies we tell ourselves by Robin Talley

  1. Pingback: April 2017 – ShansBookshelf

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