Thursday, September 3, 2015

Review: "The Truth According to Us" by Annie Barrows

A special thank you to The Dial Press and NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review. 

Title: The Truth According to Us

Author: Annie Barrows
Publisher: The Dial Press
Pub Date: June 9, 2015

"The Truth According to Us" is one of those novels. You know, the kind that you either breathlessly anticipate or read grudgingly. I have to admit I viewed it as the latter. While I liked the authors last book ("The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society"), I wasn't really fired up about this one. Set in Depression-era West Virginia, this book tells the story of Willa, a 12-year-old girl who is starting to wonder about herself and the goings-on of her once-powerful family. Add in a young woman who has come to town as part of the WPA to write a town history, some eccentric family members, and some "family secrets", and you have the basic gist of the book. 

First, the pros of "The Truth". It definitely has some shades of "To Kill a Mockingbird." Willa shares a lot of the same motherless waif characteristics with Scout Finch. This book would also be a good book club book as it covers lots of topics: the Depression-era south, the WPA (part of the New Deal), family tragedy -- basically, a little something for everyone.

Now, unfortunately, the cons. First and foremost, the length. This whopper clocks in at over 500 pages. Way. Too. Long. And it seems even longer given that there is no real climax of the story. It just shambles along, alternating between letters and actual chapters of narration. Another issues is that there are entirely too many characters in this book, making it hard to keep track of who everyone is. It also makes it hard to care that much about any of them. A third problem is the characters themselves. Felix has no redeeming qualities, Layla is shown as funny and sharp in her letters, but as a simpering romance novel character in her everyday life, and Jottie is this sort of woman-child who just shuffles through life. 

I really enjoyed "The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society" (also by this author), but if you think you will be getting more of that, you are mistaken. While both books are about life in a small town, the books are completely different, and not in a good way. 

Thank you to Net Galley and The Dial Press for providing this ARC for the purposes of review.

My rating: 2 out of 5 stars

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