A deeply moving, beautifully-written picture of how the smallest crack in a relationship slowly, over decades, becomes a canyon too wide to bridge.
When Lucy meets Matt on a blind date, Matt is instantly hooked; he sees Lucy as the fun, sexy, and wickedly smart girl of his dreams. Although she’s still getting over an old lover, Lucy is won over by Matt’s sweet, thoughtful nature. But 20 years later, alone in an empty house trying to imagine the lives of her two young children, Lucy comes to realize that the little lies you tell can create more damage than the truth you’re hiding.
"A gripping debut....a morally complex and thoroughly grown-up novel. " - Margot Livesey, New York Times bestselling author of The Flight of Gemma Hardy
"Hard to believe Thomson is a first time author, given the achievement of this novel. ... I'm still not entirely convinced that these characters are fictional; that's how much they lived and breathed on the page." - Jodi Picoult, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Lone Wolf and The Storyteller
"No spouse or parent who picks up this book will be able to put it down. Nor will anyone else." - Andre Dubus III, NYT bestselling author of Townie and House of Sand and Fog
Paperback, 416 pages
Published November 5th 2013 by Sourcebooks Landmark
Lucy is trying to make her marriage work, but her heart isn't fully committed. Lucy can't get over Griffin, the sexy rascal she met right after college. Lucy and Griffin carried on a torrid affair full of ups and downs, steamy sex, infidelity and excitement. Yet, the wild, careless Griffin refused to be faithful. Even though Lucy and Griffin fought constantly and she knew he was cheating, she couldn't resist the allure of the bad boy. The relationship finally breaks when Griffin takes off after Lucy has an abortion. Months later, Lucy meets Matt, a cop, who is kind, sweet and hopelessly in love with her. A romance ensues and marriage and children follow, but Lucy has never gotten over Griffin. When he unexpectedly shows up again, it is all too easy to fall back into a damaging and torrid relationship with him. Unfortunately, this spells the end of her marriage, and soon Matt and Lucy are battling over custody of their two children. Lucy returns to her wild, reckless ways, causing Matt to fear for the safety of his children. Finally, Matt has enough and he comes up with a daring plan. Will Lucy every recover from the lies she has sown?
What I Liked:
- I will be honest, it took a good long while before this book really took hold. The first two thirds of the book present the troublesome and turbulent relationships between Lucy and Griffin and Lucy and Matt. There isn't anything particularly new or original in this portion of the book. It is an old familiar tale of love gone wrong and the break up of a marriage due to cheating. However, the final third of the book presents the aftermath of what happens when one parent decides to take decisive action to protect his children. It was interesting and devastating to follow Lucy in the aftermath, especially as a parent. The final third of the book gave me plenty to think over, and it stirred emotions in me that really made me sympathetic to Lucy and her plight. If you are wiling to be patient, this is a read you should try. I know I will be thinking about it for days to come.
- I always enjoy books that convince me to change my feelings toward the characters. In the beginning, Lucy is your typical young woman engaged in a detrimental relationship. It is nothing but lust, and passion and there is little healthy emotion or feeling. Lucy drinks, smokes cigarettes and pot and continues to indulge in sex with Griffin even though he is nothing but trouble. Once Matt comes along she attempts to change, but she never wholeheartedly commits to the relationship. Matt is too good and perfect compared to Griffin and she misses the bad boy. It isn't long before Lucy reverts back to her bad behavior. She tries to be a good mother, and she truly loves her children, but she makes plenty of mistakes and inadvertently puts the children in danger. Matt is the complete opposite of Lucy. He is a cop, and he is indeed patient and good and he doesn't use drugs. He does whatever he can to please Lucy. Matt is an ideal father and a wonderful husband. He loves Lucy unconditionally. Everything changes once the marriage falls apart. Matt fears for his children so he does something that will change Lucy's life forever. In the final leg of the book, you see a whole new side of Matt and Lucy. Matt is no longer blinded by love. He does some shocking things. Lucy is consumed with grief, but in the end what happens changes her for the better. I liked seeing how Lucy handled the tough situation, and how she ultimately becomes a better person. For the majority of the book, I was completely sympathetic toward Matt, and I couldn't stand Lucy because she was selfish and immature. I actually thought at first that perhaps she deserved what she got, but then once I saw how she grew as she navigated through her hurt, I realized that she doesn't deserve to go through what she does. As a mother, my heart ached for her, I couldn't even imagine her pain. Through it all, Lucy becomes a much better person. She gives up all the vices in her life, and becomes a kinder, gentler Lucy. I had a new found respect for her, and I appreciated the changes. Whether or not she would have matured and changed for the better without the painful life changing event is hard to say, but I am certain she wouldn't be the strong woman that she is at the end without living through it. She certainly made plenty of mistakes, but she didn't deserve her fate. I love that I ended up completely changing my mind about her and that I ended up liking her. I had an entirely different opinion of Matt at the end as well. I couldn't condone what he did even though he did it with the best of intentions. I thought his behavior at the end was immature as well.
- I appreciated that this book is told with dual narratives. I liked getting in both Lucy and Matt's heads and seeing things through each of their eyes. It is always interesting to see the same events played out through each perspective. I am a big fan of two alternating view points, and I thought it played out well in this book.
- If you are looking for a good book to read with a book club, this would be a great pick. It is the type of story that opens up numerous channels of discussion, and it gives you many things to think on. The author even provides some interesting questions at the end to help start a conversation.
And The Not So Much:
- The pace is slow and a bit tedious. The first part of the book is interesting as you get to know Lucy, Matt and Griffin. By the middle, though, I found the pace slow. I didn't particularly enjoy watching the relationship spiral into decay. The entire premise of a marriage gone bad was nothing that I haven't read before. Even though it was all important to the story, it dragged. Once you hit the final third of the book, things really pick up. The pace moves at lightning speed, and in fact, the story rapidly moves ahead in time, skipping years into the future. In fact, I thought that things advanced too fast, and I wished that it slowed down at times to explore certain events better. After spending the majority of the book in a three year time frame, it then speeds through eighteen years in a handful of chapters.
- Griffin is such an important player in for two thirds of the book, and then he fades away and we don't hear from him again. Even though he wasn't my favorite character, I found that I kind of wanted to know what happened to him at the end. Where did he end up? Did he settle down? Was he happy? Was he a better person?
- The ending was puzzling. It is an open ending, and I was left with all kinds of questions. I didn't like the way it just faded out and, I thought it ended on a strange note. I was hoping for a bit more resolution, and I would have loved an epilogue down the road. I wanted to know how the children adjusted. I also wanted Matt to make amends for what he did. After all the drama and emotion, I was a bit frustrated. I wanted a better pay out. I don't like endings that are open to interpretation.
Lies You Wanted to Hear is an interesting and troubling look at what happens to a marriage gone wrong. It isn't an easy journey, and there are plenty of dark and painful steps that lead to a frightening and heartbreaking event that changes everything. This is a book that will get into your head and your heart and make you think. It will change your mind and leave you with an entirely new perspective at the end. This is a story that will start a discussion as you ponder over all the complexities and moral implications that are presented. If you are looking for a thought provoking read, I suggest you give this a chance.
"The trouble with the past is, it's never over. Just keeps coming back and biting you in the ass."
"When an old man drinks, either he starts thinking he's young again and makes a fool of himself, or remembers how old he is and ends up getting sad."
"I loved my children beyond measure, but I had a hard time finding my rhythm with them, as if mothering were a dance and I had to keep looking down at my feet, my good intentions no substitute for self-assurance and grace."
I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own and I was not compensated for this review.