This young adult novel by E. Lockhart, We Were Liars, is quite fascinating and rather clever. It’s a book that begs to be read in one sitting. Quite short, double-spaced, and filled with metaphor, the story jumps from past to present and back again—rather fitting for a main character struggling with a sudden and unexplainable life change. I found it addicting. Her writing style (for this book) is all short easy, train-of-thought sentences. It flows right along like a summer river and brings you to an apt ending that will surprise most readers. The minute you finish you will want someone to talk with about the story.
The gist of the story is that each summer the wealthy, maybe perfect, Sinclair family meets on their private island and We Were Liars is the story of what happened there one summer. The protagonist, Cadence, sees the action through a horrible migraine haze. Her love for her teenage cousins and, most particularly her step-cousin, Gat is set against the sibling rivalry of the three adult sisters who are their mothers. The teenagers seem to live in a parallel world, or is it only the gaps in Candace’s memory that make it feel that way? The story, while lightly touching on issues of class and race, more fully focuses on dysfunctional family dramas. The ending is a stunner! Enjoy this book and pass it to your friends.
I’ve been a fan of Anna Quindlen since she wrote for The Wall Street Journal. I have read each of her novels and all of her essays so you might assume that I wouldn’t have anything too bad to say about her work. You’d be right. I did like this book but, like all of her novels, it takes awhile to get into the story.
Quindlen’s style of writing is a bit “weird”. Her sentence structure often leaves the reader needing to read each sentence over again until you “get it”. I’ve found that to be true with each of her novels. But that said, after a couple of chapters, the work flows along smoothly. Still Life With Bread Crumbs is a woman’s story. Rebecca Winter is a photographer who’s most famous piece has made her an icon for the Woman’s Movement. While others look at her as a heroine, Rebecca doesn’t see herself that way. Like many women she feels that success was a fluke and that now, with her bank account empty, her son and parents depending on her, and her career sliding away she is unsure and not self-confident enough to turn things around.
This is my favorite Quindlen novel to date. It packs a serious punch for women of a certain age. As Rebecca discovers that life is a story with many layers I was right there with her enjoying each of the highs and feeling each of her lows. Of course, there is a love story entwined through the book but it doesn’t distract from the story of Rebecca herself who is a woman I’d like to meet and get to know over a glass of wine.