Sunday, August 23, 2009

What I Saw and How I Lied, Judy Blundell

Like my students, I am always drawn to books with shiny stickers on them and this one fit the bill. I didn't know anything about the story when I started reading it and I was so pleasantly surprised and pleased with it. I loved the atmosphere of post World War II Palm Beach and kept imagining I was watching an old movie. I've never read any true noir before and after seeing this described as noir for teens I want to try some grown up noir out. I love mysteries like this- it had just the right amount of foreshadowing and suspense to make me want to keep reading it all in one go but not so much to make my stomach hurt. I honestly can't think of a single thing I didn't like about this book. Now I need Judy Blundell to write something else for me to read. And as usual I have found someone else to be more articulate than I can be. Here's what bookslut says about it:

"Judy Blundell’s What I Saw and How I Lied is a stylish, noir-like thriller that carries its 1940s setting into a spectacular plot built on meaningful looks, suspicious associations and unspoken feverish longings. From start to finish Blundell places this story of lies and possible murder deeply in Perry Mason territory (and I mean that as the highest compliment). For fifteen-year-old Evie the events in the book are life changing as she watches her perfect family (beautiful mother and loving step-father) slowly crumble. What do you do when you realize your parents are not who you thought they were and how far would you go to protect that family image that has always meant so much?

There are questions about crimes and criminals that remain unresolved at the book’s end, but that does nothing to diminish the power of the story or its very satisfying ending. This is a book that sings of Bogart and Bacall, Raymond Chandler and Robert Mitchum and utterly and completely of Gene Tierney. You do not have to be a noir fan to enjoy it however, and it is assuredly a teen drama with wide appeal. I found a great deal to admire in Blundell’s writing here, and in her willingness to take a chance on a setting and style rarely visited for teens. There is a reason why this book is an award winner; it is completely cool."

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