December 1, 2021

The Book Report: We Were Liars by E. Lockhart

For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.

– King James Version, 1 Timothy 6:10

Let me be clear: this book is different. The writing style is different, but compelling and carefully concocted. The story imitates Grimm’s Fairy Tales and Shakespeare’s King Lear through subtle references and is actually written for young adults, but I promise, this book is for everyone.

Meet the Sinclair family.

“No one is a criminal. No one is an addict. No one is a failure….We believe in outdoor exercise. We believe that time heals. We believe, although we will not say so explicitly, in prescription drugs and the cocktail hour. We do not discuss our problems in restaurants. We do not believe in displays of distress. Our upper lips are stiff…”

– Candace Sinclair Eastman

In reality, the Sinclair family is rich, beautiful and seemingly perfect, until you look a little closer and see exactly how fragile and unstable the entire family truly is. The powerful patriarch lords over his three impeccably dressed, unintelligent daughters, who drink to excess and fight over the family fortune, china and silver; greed knows no bounds in this dysfunctional environment. They own a private island that is dotted with mammoth summer homes for each family.

Meet the second generation of rebellious grandchildren who come along with ideas of their own. The liars are three teenage cousins, Johnny, Mirren, and Cadence. An outsider, the dark-skinned Gat, joins the cousins one summer on their private island. Gat does not share the moneyed and privileged background of the cousins, and they love and revere him for it. The grandfather can hardly look him in the eye. Gat has political beliefs that he makes known. “Not everyone has private islands. Some people work on them. Some work in factories. Some don’t have work. Some don’t have food.”

And then unspeakable tragedy hits. The clever plot revolves around Cadence’s desperate attempts to recall the events surrounding the catastrophe. In her distressed state, Cadence resorts to writing stories that eerily reveal much about the morals, and lack thereof, of the Sinclairs. In the end, the unimaginable truth is unveiled. But I am no spoiler so you will just have to read the book! It is full of suspense, drama, emotional and tender young love, jealousy, greed and potent writing.

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