Tuesday, 19 November 2013

The Lies You Wanted to Hear by James Whitfield Thomson

Available from Sourcebooks

My Thoughts

The Lies You Wanted to Hear spans decades in the lives of Matt and Lucy retelling the complexities of their relationship. The story details their introduction, growing affection, sacrifices, disappointments and betrayals... I came away from this book disturbed by the knowledge that people do crap things to those they are supposed to love. It was quite depressing really.

There was nothing wrong with the writing and there was really nothing wrong with the content. There was an allusion to danger, that the author portrayed quite vividly. I turned the pages dreading what was going to happen, the potential for serious escalation was there, but it just didn’t eventuate and I couldn’t decide whether to be relieved or disturbed by that.

The Lies You Wanted to Hear is actually a great discussion book. In fact there are topical questions to explore with your book club listed in the final pages, that are designed to encourage the reader to analyze their responses to what they have read - which is fantastic; if that’s what you’re after.

This book and I were just not a good match. I read for pleasure, to escape the everyday concerns and enjoy some light fantasy. If I want to wax poetic about moral versus ethical issues, I’ll attend a philosophy class. If I feel the need to debate the levels of sin, determine who’s lies/crimes are greater, I’ll visit my pastor. If I want something heavier, I’ll put myself in the head in a detective and maybe solve a crime. Want I don’t want; what I’ll never need; is to involve myself in the righteous misery that some people think they are justified to inflict on each other.

My Rating


I obtained an ARC from the publisher (via Netgalley) with a view to providing an honest review. The thoughts expressed above, are entirely my own. I don’t really like the concept of rating novels as they are subjective and subject to change. A five star book today, may be re-evaluated when compared to future novels.

The Summary 

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

The Author

James Whitfield Thomson grew up on the North Side of Pittsburgh and attended Harvard College on scholarship. After graduation he served three years in the Navy as navigator of a supply ship off the coast of Vietnam. Jim earned a Ph.D. in American Studies at the University of Pennsylvania, writing his dissertation on the detective novelist Raymond Chandler. Following a brief stint teaching literature in academia, he joined a start-up venture as a salesman. The company’s rapid success allowed him to retire early and devote himself to writing. He has published stories in a number of literary magazines including Agni and The Ledge and has been a Massachusetts Council for the Arts grant recipient. Jim and his wife, Elizabeth, live in a Victorian farmhouse outside of Boston and have five globe-trotting children. Lies You Wanted to Hear is his first published novel. You can find him on Facebook or at www.jameswhitfieldthomson.com

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