Review : What I saw and how I lied

What I saw and how I lied by Judy Blundell
Pages : 281
Genre : YA, historical fiction
Stand alone
My Rating :

From the Back of the Book :

When Evie’s father returned home from World War II, the family fell back into its normal life pretty quickly. But Joe Spooner brought more back with him than just war stories. Movie-star handsome Peter Coleridge, a young ex-GI who served in Joe’s company, shows up, and Evie finds herself falling for him, ignoring the secrets that surround him… until a tragedy occurs that shatters her family and breaks her life in two.

So, hmmm.

I wanted to love this book, I really did. I loved the setting, and I loved the idea. The story had all the necessary ingredients to be intriguing and strong, but instead the writing made it feel flat and predictable.

As a narrator, Evie wasn’t believable to me. The writing made her sound younger than her age, and at the same time, it didn’t feel as if I was reading a story that was happening over fifty years ago. I had a hard time liking her, too, as I found she had very little personality, which of course made it hard for me to get through the book. Despite the fact that it was a short read, I felt like it went on forever.

To be fair, there were things I enjoyed from the book (as illustrated by my rating). The story in itself was interesting and I wanted to know where it was going. It was dark and mysterious, and I was very curious to see what Evie would choose to do in the end. I wasn’t satisfied with the ending though, as I disagreed with it and there were no real consequence attached to it. (if you feel like you’ve read this already, you might be thinking of Amanda’s review, which explain in a better way similar thoughts. Interestingly, Amanda had mentioned the “naive heroine” problem and I commented at the time that it would annoy me. And yes, it did.)

In the end, What I saw and how I lied was a disappointing read. Being a fan of historical fiction and being interested in settings relating to war, I was left wanting more. There were too few details of the time, and those few were repetitive. What I did enjoy though, was that Blundell also talked about issues like antisemitism, a subject I have seen many authors avoid in books happening around WWII.

Here are a few links to other reader’s reviews with different opinions :

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9 responses to “Review : What I saw and how I lied”

  1. Meghan says :

    Oh well. I see this book in the library every time I go in there and even though it’s on display, no one has taken it out for weeks. Now I know why. I’ll avoid this one too.

  2. bermudaonion says :

    I love the title, the cover and the premise, so I’m bummed to see the book doesn’t hold up to them.

  3. Amanda says :

    Yeah, I gave it 2 stars instead of 2.5, but otherwise this does sound like you felt the same as I did. It WAS disappointing!

  4. Juju at Tales of Whimsy.com says :

    Bummer! I hate when that happens. Thanks for the review.

  5. Meg says :

    I’m sorry this one was disappointing! I absolutely love the cover (red lipstick!) and the premise is so interesting. And it won a National Book Award?! Oh my.

  6. kay says :

    Meghan : I’m actually surprised people aren’t picking it up, since I loved the cover and title so much!

    Kathy : Yes! I liked all those too, so I was really was disappointed.

    Amanda : Absolutely. As I wrote my review I kept thinking of yours, and when I went and re-read it, I realized that we really did have a similar impression. I wish I hadn’t!

    Juju : I do to! Luckily that doesn’t happen too often.

    Meg : I love the cover so much, too! I don’t know much about the National Book Award personally, but I know some other readers loved it, so there certainly are some interesting aspects in the book.

  7. Kari says :

    This book has been on my list for a long time, mostly because of the cover. And I love the cover so much, I might just read it anyway.

  8. Jill says :

    I had a student just read this book and she really liked it. Isn’t funny how different people like different things. I need to read it just to see what it’s about.

  9. kay says :

    Kari : You absolutely should! I know some people really enjoyed it, so you might find it really good!

    Jill : Oh I completely agree! It’s all about tastes of course. I always feel bad when I can’t write a positive review for a book – hence the links to more positive reviews at the end of mind. I sincerely hope you enjoy it more than I did!

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