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The Truth According to Us

3.75  ·  Rating details ·  17,036 ratings  ·  2,809 reviews
NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY BOOKPAGE • From the co-author of The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society comes a wise, witty, and exuberant novel, perfect for fans of Lee Smith, that illuminates the power of loyalty and forgiveness, memory and truth, and the courage it takes to do what’s right. 

Annie Barrows once again evokes the charm and eccentrici
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Paperback, 528 pages
Published June 14th 2016 by Dial Press Trade Paperback (first published June 9th 2015)
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Jonkonfui Too much bad language?? What is 'bad language' for many people?? I suppose they are ultra super religious otherwise I cannot understand where do they …moreToo much bad language?? What is 'bad language' for many people?? I suppose they are ultra super religious otherwise I cannot understand where do they read so many "bad language" in this book. I am not English native speaker and I cannot understand why some people take offence at the word 'fuck'. Just a word (full of pleasure one). I find it so ridiculous to refer to fuck as 'f-word'... In Spanish joder or follar. We dont say the f or j word. What is wrong with "fuck"... It is something we all do and enjoy.(less)
Nina Wagner Mae and Minerva are Jottie's twin sisters.…moreMae and Minerva are Jottie's twin sisters.(less)
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Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽
4.5 stars. A tale of secrets and intertwined lives in the small, one-factory town of Macedonia, West Virginia in 1938. This historical West Virginia novel is by the co-author of The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society.

description description

The story is told from the alternating viewpoints of 12 year old Willa Romeyn, her 36 year old aunt Josephine (Jottie) Romeyn, and Layla Beck, a young woman from a wealthy and prominent family who is boarding with Jottie for the summer while she writes a history of the
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MarilynW
Dec 01, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to MarilynW by: susan (highheeledone)
Shelves: hardback
The Truth According to Us by Annie Barrows

In 1938, wealthy, twenty four year old Layla Beck is punished by her father, for not marrying a man she didn't even like, and is sent to work on the Federal Writers’ Project, a New Deal jobs program. Yes, wealthy Layla, daughter of a Senator, is going to be living on relief. Layla is naive, spoiled and has never worked a day in her life. But once she starts boarding with the Romeyn family, of Macedonia, West Virginia, she gets her revenge on her father b
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Victoria
Mar 12, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This book could have used serious editing--as in cutting at least 150 pages--and more diligent focus on characters, narrative and plot. As you’ll note from the description, the author was partly responsible for The Guernsey Literary Society, a book that simply oozed with charm and lovable characters, and I am left to wonder how much input this author had in that book’s success. How many ways did this story disappoint?

1. Length. It took over 250 pages before anything really happened. I think half
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Angela M
Feb 20, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is so very much about time and place , that this small town called Macedonia in West Virginia in 1938 , is almost another character . Such a clear sense of place is depicted ! With descriptions like this you can't help but see it :

"Bird and I trudged along Academy Street in silence . I suppose if you'd never seen them before, all the houses on our street looked the same, big and white - brick. If you gazed through the polished lens of experience, though , each one was different. You co
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Phrynne
Aug 12, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really only read this book because I knew the author co wrote The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society but I am very glad I did read it because it is good. I fell in love with many of the characters especially Willa and Jottie and in the end I sat and read way past my bed time because I had to find out what happened to everyone. The ending turned out to be realistic rather than happy ever after but that was okay. This is one of those books which sucks you in with perfect descriptions ...more
Tamar overwhelmed by work, but forging on....
I thought I should revise this review since I wrote it nearly three years ago, when all I could think of to write, at the time, was just how much I loved it. So, yes, I loved this book. I loved the story. I loved the characters. I loved the wit and humor, and I loved the audio/readers. I also love epistolary novels and much of the story is revealed in letters. Listening to this book was like being dropped right into anytown, in nowheresville, America smack in the midst of the depression, and I c ...more
Esil
Apr 06, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
Somewhere between 3.5 and 4 stars. Annie Barrows wrote the Ivy and Bean books which I read over and over with my daughter when she was younger. And reading The Truth About Us was like reading a version of Ivy and Bean for adults -- which is mostly a positive thing. Barrows tells an excellent story -- a good yarn! Told from the perspective of Leila, Willa and Jottie, the story takes place in 1938 in Macedonia, a small town in West Virginia. Leila comes to Macedonia from Washington to write a hist ...more
Holly
Mar 16, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What can I say? This books starts out with it being the summer of 1938.....and boy, did I feel like I was there in thick of that sweltering heat. That's what I loved most about this book: it made me me feel like I was in West Virginia. I could see everyone so plainly. I saw everyone sitting out on their porches, drinking their iced tea, and stopping by saying hello. All the characters were right there in my sight: Jottie, Layla, Willa & Bird, Minerva & Mae....all the secondary characters, they w ...more
Connie G
As the title suggests, the characters in this book are delving into secrets to find out the truth--and there may be more than one truth. The narrator is twelve-year-old Willa Romeyn, a likable, precocious girl in the small West Virginian town of Macedonia. She has been eavesdropping on conversations, and sneaking around trying to find out the truth about her father Felix's occupation, family secrets, and life in general.

Another truth-seeker is Layla, a young woman boarding with the Romeyns who i
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DeB MaRtEnS
Quaint. However, the novel dragged so badly that I simply gave up.
Susan Johnson
Jun 07, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It's summer time, hot, and you want to lay out on a hammock, sip a lemonade and read a good book. This is a great one to do that. Written by the co-author of The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society it takes place in the small town of Macedonia, West Virginia, during the Great Depression.

Layla Beck is the spoiled daughter of an U.S. Senator who one rebels by refusing to marry the man selected for her to marry. Sen. Beck is so enraged that he cuts her off without a dime and signs her u
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☮Karen
3.5 stars. A charming and quaint story with memorable characters set during the depression.

It's a dripping hot summer in 1938 and Layla Beck is being punished by her father, a Senator, for not agreeing to marry the boring chap he has chosen for her. The punishment is a job with the WPA writing a history of a small Virginia town, celebrating its sesquicentenial. This lands Layla in a prominent household of the communty as a boarder, and soon she has set the family on its ear, striking up a relati
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Ashley
Jun 22, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was well on its way to being a 5-star review - right up until the very end. I loved the way Annie Barrows described the fictional town of Macedonia, West Virginia. She made me feel like I was living in Small Town, USA during 1938. The story was told from the perspective of three females - Layla Beck, the daughter of a senator who was sent to Macedonia to write its history after she refused to marry the man of her father's choosing; Jottie Romeyn, the owner of the home where Layla boarded wh ...more
Dorie  - Cats&Books :)
I love books that take place in small towns, and with Layla being somewhat banished there to write the history of Macedonia. WV, lots of secrets come to light. Layla was a spoiled rich girl and she is quite unhappy when her father forces here to join the Federal Writers Project and she has to live with a family much different than what she is used to. It is a learning experience for all involved.

What made this story unique was the exploration of the small town dynamics of course but also I lear
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Sharon Siepel
Mar 31, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
How can I even begin to describe how much I enjoyed reading this book? The Truth According to Us by Annie Barrows unravels the secrets of a small Depression-era West Virginia town through the eyes of 12 year old Willa and Layla, a young woman assigned by Roosevelt's Writer Project to research and write the history of town in time for its 150th birthday.

Though the book mainly focuses on one family in particular, readers are introduced to many citizens of Macedonia, all with the quirks, agendas, a
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Susan
Let's get this right out in the open - this is NOT another Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. The primary author of that book club favorite was ailing when she asked her niece, Annie Barrows, to help her finish it. The Truth According to Us, although it is partially epistolary, is a very different read with a much more bittersweet tone.

The novel uses several different POVs to tell the Depression-era story of Layla Beck, a spoiled socialite whose father cuts her off when she refuses
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Rebecca
(3.5) They say there are only two basic plots: a stranger comes to town, or the hero sets off on a journey. Well, here’s the first of those in action. This atmospheric historical novel is set in the sweltering summer of 1938. Layla Beck, a spoiled senator’s daughter, has been sent to Macedonia, West Virginia by the WPA to document the town’s story in advance of its sesquicentennial. Her uncle pulls strings to get her the job even though he thinks his flighty niece is “exactly as fit to work on t ...more
Jessica Jeffers
I adored The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. And though Annie Barrows really only helped finish that book for her aunt, that was 99% of why I snatched up this ARC. (Also, I love books that take place in West Virginia, as it's kind of my secondary home state)

This is about Layla, a privileged young woman whose independent streak has resulted in being cut off by her well-to-do family in the depths of the Depression. She ends up assigned to work on the Federal Writer's Project in Mace
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Ann-Marie
May 22, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I didn't expect much of this novel. I carried around a sample of it on my Kindle for over a year, and it was stuck on a very misleading page. It gave me the impression the whole book was about socialites being selfish during the depression.
Not at all! There is a socialite. She is rather selfish, but she is a product of her upbringing, and when she looks around at her world she decides she is not going to play by their rules anymore.
All right, they say, try another world, and her family packs h
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Anna
Welcome to Macedonia, West Virginia in the late 1930's. The Depression has taken its tole, and the people are suffering. The Romeyns were once a prominent and beloved family, but now take in boarders. Their new boarder is Layla Beck, daughter of a Senator, who's been exiled due to her refusal to marry a wealthy suitor. She lands a job with the WPA (Works Progress Administration) to write the town history of Macedonia. The Romeyns once ran the textile mill, but due to tragic circumstances are no ...more
Yzabel Ginsberg
[I received a copy through NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review.]

This was a strange read, one that I both liked, but less than I had hoped and expected. To be honest, I found the book a wee bit too long. Somehow, it felt like it could've been tightened, and although the last chapters, after the "reveal", were needed, they still seemed to drag a little.

The style here mixes present tense first person narrative, past tense third person narrative, and excerpts from letters. I liked the tone o
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Fictionophile
Several years ago I read "The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society" by by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows. I enjoyed it so much that I felt sure I would enjoy a novel by one of its authors, and I chose to read this novel on the strength of that. I was right!

"The truth according to us" is set in the fictional mill town of Macedonia, West Virginia in 1938. The characters are richly drawn and the book's pace is as slow as the sultry summer in which the story unfolds.

The town, situated o
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Lynn G.
I really enjoyed this story, especially the different versions of 'truth' proffered by the different characters. Willa, the narrator, concludes in the epilogue: "The truth of other people is a ceaseless business. You try to fix your ideas about them, and you choke on the clot you've made."

In a small way The Truth According to Us reminds me of the Japanese Rashomon tale that explores four different characters' testimonies of the same event; they collide and diverge depending on each character's
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Susan
Nov 23, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Sweltering West Virginia Summer 1938

I would have passed this by if it hadn’t been for Tamar's enthusiastic recommendation. I’m thankful because I really loved this book for so many reasons.

Based on the premise, I had the impression that the book centered around Layla and her government sponsored position for the Writers Project.

She’s the spark starting the fire, but she’s one of three narrators, with the others being Willa, a rapidly maturing twelve year old, and her caregiver aunt Jottie.

With
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Julie
The Truth According to Us by Annie Barrows in a 2015 Dial Press publication. I was provided a copy of this book by the publisher and Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

This absorbing novel tells the story of the Romeyn family set in Macedonia, West Virginia in the late 1930's.
The story unfolds as a young woman named Layla travels to the small town in order to write Macedonia's history as a part of the Roosevelt Writer Project.

The Romeyn family was like royalty in the small town once
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Melissa Rochelle
I like stories set in small-towns. I like historical fiction. I like family secrets. I like books that use letters (or other documents) to tell a story.

I should have devoured this book and demanded more at the end, but no. I liked it, but I really wanted to love it.

3.5 stars

It's summer 1938 in Macedonia, West Virginia. Willa Romeyn lives with her smart Aunt Jottie, quirky twin Aunts Mae and Minerva, her little sister Bird, and her there-one-minute-gone-the-next father Felix. She's an excellent s
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Meags
4 Stars

Set in the 1930s, The Truth According to Us follows the intersecting lives of three women living in the small town of Macedonia, West Virginia.

The historical fiction elements and the vivid imagery created by the author made for quite a captivating read.

The aspect of the story I found particularly interesting was how the “truth” of history can be fictionalized by the people telling it. One of the main characters (Layla Beck) was tasked with crafting a written history of the town of Macedo
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Jamise | Spines & Vines
I could not wait for this book to end. While I love Annie Barrows writing style this book was about 150 pages too long. What Barrows gets right is the ability to make the reader feel like they are imbedded in the story. You feel the hot suffocating weather, taste the cool ice cream on a summer day and see the fireflies at night. Set in 1930's West Virginia, I enjoyed the characters, the Romeyn family dynamic and the intriguing storyline of the town history being unearthed by a high society debut ...more
Jennifer
3.5 stars rounded up to 4.

I really liked this book, although I'll admit that going into it I expected that I was going to *love* it. To that end, it fell short. The book is entirely too long, and with tighter editing could be shortened by at least 100 pages, resulting in a more powerful story.

After refusing to marry a man of her parents' choosing, Layla Beck is cut off from her family's money and forced to get a job through the Works Progress Administration writing the history of Macedonia, West
...more
JanB
Jun 01, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition


This tale is part mystery and part coming-of-age, all taking place in the small town of Macedonia, West Virginia during the Depression years. Willa is a 12 year old girl living with her aunts Jottie, Minerva, and Mae, as well as her sister, Bird. After refusing to marry a man chosen for her by her parents, Layla, a rich, spoiled debutante, is forced to take a job writing the town of Macedonia’s history, a Federal Writer’s Project. While there, she boards with Willa and her aunts.

Precocious Will
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Annie grew up in Northern California, and graduated from the University of California at Berkeley, with a degree in Medieval History. Unable to find a job in the middle ages, she decided upon a career as an editor, eventually landing at Chronicle Books in San Francisco, where she was in charge of "all the books that nobody in their right mind would publish." After earning an M.F.A. in Creative Wri ...more

Articles featuring this book

Her Favorite Books About Small Towns: Visit tiny towns with big heart in these five recs from the author of The Truth According to Us, set in 1930s...
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“I’ve learned that history is the autobiography of the historian, that ignoring the past is the act of a fool, and that loyalty does not mean falling into line, but stepping out of it for the people you love.” 6 likes
“I have since wondered, of course, how my life would have been different if I'd decided to stay home that morning. This is what's called the enigma of history, and it can drive you out of your mind if you let it.” 5 likes
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