It's no secret that I love to read. And I'm finding myself getting lost in books more as a result of the continued quarantine, winter, and a little social isolation of my own making (I'm working on it). I started this book on Friday evening and finished it by mid-day on Sunday. At times, I found myself propping up my Kindle so I could read while I unloaded the dishwasher, made the bed, did laundry, etc.
When I wasn't reading, I was thinking about the story, the characters, the themes, and how the author created something so relatable and so tragic at the same time. It's particularly relatable if you are a straight female, white, middle to upper class, and went to college in the early 2010's. The main characters were in college 2010-2014 (I think) and I was in college 2008-2012 so the references (Facebook as the main form of lurking, Pretty Lights type concerts, the rise of hot/competitive yoga classes) were spot-on for me. There was also a wedding set in 2017 and, having gotten married myself in 2017, the references to the wedding hashtag (do people even do that anymore?! I got married at the height of wedding hashtags.) and personalized everything (your names plus your wedding date on champagne flutes, cocktail napkins, the menu, the place cards, etc. Because what if people forget who is getting married and what day it is?! The horror.) were a blast from the [recent but seemingly oh so long ago] past.
When I finished it yesterday, I had to sit in silence for a few minutes to absorb and process it all before rejoining my life. [This is purposefully dramatic but Pat was watching Tropic Thunder and I really had no desire to watch that so I did just sit in silence thinking about the book for a few minutes after I finished it.]
The book is Tell Me Lies by Carola Lovering. It came out in 2018 (the author actually has her next book coming out TODAY, I joined my library's waitlist immediately) but I just heard about it on the Bad on Paper podcast. Two trigger warnings plus an asterisk here: the book contains graphic details of eating disorder tendencies and a toxic relationship with someone displaying both narcissistic and sociopathic qualities (lying, cheating, gaslighting, among other horrible things. This guy is the worst). Those are the trigger warnings. The asterisk is, as someone who could be triggered by both of those things, I experienced the opposite effect. My empathy towards Lucy (the main character) was incredibly strong and I found myself feeling more compassionate towards her eating disorder and responses to Stephen's behavior than anything. And then turning those feelings back towards myself and viewing myself with more grace and understanding than usual.
But a heads up because the book can be tough to get through at times - I found my heart racing, my stomach feeling ill, and my brain cycling through old rumination at different points. I know those don't sound like *good* reactions but this book is so, so good and I loved it. And I want to talk about it with everyone so please let me know if you read it and what you think!