Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Book Review: The Good Lie by Robin Brande

This book challenged me emotionally and intellectually. I'm going to start off by saying I did not like this story, because it made me extremely uncomfortable, which is why I'm going to highly recommend that you read it. Read it now. It is a brilliant, nuanced novel about a religious girl who deals with issues outside of and at odds with her religious experience.  I thought the author did an amazing job of both respecting religion through her main character's eyes while at the same time laying bare it's glaring weaknesses. It's a book that poses more questions than it answers.

A brief synopsis: Lizzie Aimes is living her life as a normal sixteen-year-old Christian teen. She's a good student, she loves her family (especially her little 8 year old brother) and is trying to live her religion despite her sexual desires and a massive crush on a certain boy, who seems set on sleeping his way through the school's female population. Up until the night of her prom, that was her biggest problem. In the weeks and months following, Lizzie life begins unravelling in all the worst ways imaginable, culminating in her need to tell "the good lie."

While it is a novel about a deeply religious girl, this is not a religious book. There are a lot of girls like Lizzie in the world. So many times I wanted to yell at Lizzie for her actions or inactions. But having been a conservative religious teen myself, and remembering certain situations I encountered that were outside my religious training, I can understand the moral quandary and torpor she finds herself in.

As I continue to ponder this book, a week after I read it, the biggest issue that I find myself circling back to again and again, is sexual repression. It is one of the most dangerous by-products of religion, in that it creates an atmosphere ripe for pedophilia to thrive in the religious world, as too many children have found out. It takes away children's voices; since they're never allowed to talk about sex, they don't have the words or knowledge of how to report abuse. One of the major themes of The Good Lie is that dichotomy of sexual repression and the conservatively religious teaching/drilling of sexual abstinence and purity of mind and body when it bumps up against the harsh reality of world scenarios, and how damaging it can be for women and children. 

So, go read this book and be challenged.

(Be aware that this book is for mature readers. It contains profanity and frank language regarding sexual functions and situations, and pedophilia. While none of it feels gratuitous, it can be shocking.) 

No comments:

Post a Comment