Genre: Young Adult, Fiction, Coming of Age, Suspense, Noir
Reading Challenges: 13 for 100+ in 2009
What I Saw and How I Lied is several things at once: a coming of age story, a novel of suspense, and a book which captures the moral ambiguity and sexual tension of noir. The novel takes place shortly after the end of World War Two. The story is narrated by Evelyn Spooner, the fifteen year old heroine, who shares with us the details of her family vacation to Palm Beach Florida in the company of her mother, Beverly, and her stepfather, Joe. The Spooner family arrives in Palm Beach during the off season, only to find that their opportunities for entertainment are somewhat limited. Shortly after arriving, they meet up with a man named Paul, who served with Joe in the military. Evelyn, or Evie as she calls herself, is suffering some serious growing pains and soon finds herself falling head over heels for Peter. Before we reach the end of the novel, Evie's wold will have been turned upside down as she learns some hard lessons and lives through some harrowing experiences. Most of all, she will come to know truths about those whom she has always trusted to know best, her parents, that will change everything.
This was an enjoyable read. The author writes in such a way that we, the reader, can guess long before Evie what is really going on. The author also did a good job of raising some moral issues. I read in some other reviews that this was a difficult read for some as they felt that none of the characters were particularly virtuous. This didn't bother me in the sense that I am familiar with the noir genre, and so I was expecting a resolution that didn't exactly wrap up all the ends neatly. I also felt that although I wouldn't have made some of the choices that Evie did, that I understood why she chose to do what she did.
I would recommend this book to readers who enjoy film noir, and coming of age stories as I thought it was a well written and satisfying read.