Abby's Reviews > What I Saw and How I Lied

What I Saw and How I Lied by Judy Blundell
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Dec 07, 2008

really liked it
bookshelves: teen, historical
Read in January, 2009

Just finished this -- it went down smooth and fast like a tumbler of scotch on the rocks. Remarkably well-written -- there are some great sentences in there, full of imagery (ex. "I don't know when it happened, but things started to turn, just a little bit, like when you smell the bottle of milk, and you know it's going to be sour tomorrow, but you pour it on your cereal anyway.") -- BUT the ending felt a little too pat for me. This doesn't deserve the comparisons to "Atonement" that it's getting -- this book is ultimately about redemption for the main character and "Atonement" never gives the reader that satisfaction. And it certainly didn't deserve to beat out "Frankie Landau-Banks" and "The Spectacular Now" for the National Book Award -- both of those books feature more complex, fully realized characters and challenge their readers more than this one (I guess I shouldn't be surprised, those judges gave the award to Sherman Alexie's book last year & I liked that book much less than this). So I guess my review's really a 3.5. Criticisms aside, it's definitely worth reading -- and a great book to give to teens looking for a solid historical with a bit of an edge -- adultery, lies, murder (but nothing graphic) -- to it.
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