Friday, February 10, 2012

The Truth About Us by Dalene Flannigan

Summary (courtesy of GoodReads) :  What happens when the past catches up to the present and the truth surfaces? Three women, roommates back in college, find their lives forever altered when one of them feels compelled to confess the secret sin of their past. 

And whose truth is it? 

'The Truth About Us' weaves the past and the present in a page-turner that explores the shifting quality of truth, and the cost of secrets. 

And here's what I thought:   I have to admit, I wound up liking this book a lot more than I thought I was going to.  Not that I didn't think I was going to like the book .... but I found that I was eagerly reading it, and whipping through parts of it because I couldn't stand to not know what was going to happen next.

As you can see from the summary, this is the story of 3 women, all very different from one another, but who share an awful secret.  The story is told from all three of their viewpoints (although not necessarily in first person), and alternates between them.  Grace, the first woman we meet in the story, was probably the one I liked best of the women, although I liked Erica, as well.   She has a straightforward way of thinking, and a wry sense of humor that I liked.   She is the one who tells the story in first person (which is a clue).

Erica is the next one we meet.  She's married, and has just discovered her husband has been unfaithful.  What I found interesting about Erica is that she's very private, but her inner thoughts are definitely revealing -- and intriguing.   I won't say that I liked her 100% of the time, but actually, when she's interacting with Jude, I did like her.   She has a way of using humor as a defense, deflecting some of what Jude is intent on pushing onto her.   

Jude, the third woman, is difficult to like.  At least, I found I didn't like her.  She is the roommate that was the big partier, the drinker, the one who slept around.  Now, she has found Jesus --- which is just fine, but now, she feels like she needs to confess this secret from their shared past .... and she's really, really pushy about it.   And self-righteous, which is probably the most annoying thing about her.   I understood that Jude had issues from her own past, and I had some sympathy for her ---- but her single-minded determination to do what she thinks is right, regardless of what really might be right, was kind of frustrating.

When Jude calls Erica to talk to her about their shared secret, it's clear this is something big.   "...that's when Erica felt it; the shift, the veer of deviating balance, the visceral recognition that nothing would ever be the same again.  If the day had not been ruptured enough, here was the big bang." (p 11)

And then, the story really picks up.   There is a bit of back-and-forth as we learn about what happened in the past, and then what is happening now --- and as we get closer to Jude revealing the secret, the tension really builds.

And I think I'll leave it at that.  This isn't a very long book -- it's 204 pages.   However, there's a lot in this story.   There's the relationship between the three women -- their past relationship as roommates, and their present lives that are now intersecting.  There's the issue of Erica and her husband and what's going to happen to their marriage.   It's about keeping secrets, and how that can change people.    There were parts that weren't easy to read ..... there are a few pretty ugly things in this book, but I felt they weren't blown out of proportion, or didn't make sense to be in the story.

I liked how the author wrote these three women, and the story.  These characters were so clear that I instantly felt like I knew them.   I liked the pace, and how I wasn't sure what was going to happen.  I also liked how I didn't like Jude -- but I couldn't not read about her (kind of like when your eye is drawn to something really ugly or awful).   I was glad that the author didn't make it so that Jude completely controlled everything.   In fact, at one point, when Erica stands up to her, I was cheering (inside, quietly).   

I don't know if this is a story all readers will like, so I'd encourage you to look at the other reviews on GoodReads.  I was reminded of what I liked in Margaret Atwood's The Robber Bride, another book about 3 very different women who know each other in college, and whose lives intersect again.     

First sentences:  I used to feel embarrassed, no, unworthy of my name, Grace.  I'm tall, nearly five feet, ten inches and I have thick legs.  When I was eight years old, standing in the kitchen making two more rum and cokes -- three ice cubes, rum to this line, coke to here - I overheard my mother slur that I took after my father.

Thoughts on the cover:  Well suited to the story, with the three images, and the water.  


Post a Comment

Thank you for taking the time to comment!

Please note that I am officially designating this blog an award-free zone. Thank you!!

Blog Design by Use Your Imagination Designs using images from the Before the First Snow kit by Lorie Davison