‘Lies We Tell Ourselves’ by Robin Talley




Recieved as a gift

51u5jvvsuol-_sx316_bo1204203200_In 1959 Virginia, Sarah and nine other of the best students from the local black high school, Johns, have waited years to attend the white school Jefferson High. Sarah is entering her last year of high school and is hopeful about her future. But when the black students walk in on their first day under a barrage of verbal and physical abuse, it is clear that she and the others are not welcome. The ten black teens will just have to get their heads down and tough it out.

Linda is the privileged white daughter of a well-respected segregationist. She doesn’t like all the disruption in her last year of school, and just wishes that the black people would stop pushing for something that it’s obvious none of the white townspeople want. When she is set a school project-with one of the black girls- she is disgusted that she even has to work with a black person, and the feeling is mutual.

When Sarah and Linda reluctantly spend time together working on the project, they start to get to know each other, and each begins to feel something that she doesn’t want to ever acknowledge. Amidst all the unrest, anger and hardship, the two girls try desperately to hide who they are.

How can they hide their true feelings and navigate a dangerous, racist world without something eventually slipping?

I’d heard about this book so many times, but never actually read it until my brother bought it as a gift for my birthday. And wow is it amazing!

This is a beautifully written story by Robin Talley about the civil rights movement, but also about sexuality, which was not a topic generally discussed in 1959 Virginia. The story was mainly narrated by Sarah, switching at times to Linda and then at the end Sarah’s younger sister Ruth. The plot was well-directed, constantly moving ahead in the story.

While this story is fiction and there is no town called Davisburg in Virginia, I really felt as if it was true, and I made such a connection with the characters. This book made me think for a long while after reading the last page about the struggles of the people who fought for integration, and I respect the courage and the work they did. It’s an inspiring, thought-provoking book, and one that I think everyone should read.


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