★★★☆☆ – 3/5
Last week I finished reading E.Lockhart’s ‘We Were Liars’ and I have to say I did find it an interesting one; especially in terms of the mixed reviews it’s getting. Here’s the blurb for those of you who haven’t heard of it yet:
We are the Liars.
We are beautiful, privileged and live a life of carefree luxury.
We are cracked and broken.
A story of love and romance.
A tale of tragedy.
Which are lies?
Which is truth?
Doesn’t give much away does it? And it’s much the same attitude from Lockhart for most of the book. It takes the perspective of Cadence, a privileged white girl whose family owns a private island off Cape Cod. In short, she suffers from amnesia caused by a mysterious tragedy she has repressed; we follow her journey to re-discovery of these events.
For the most part the reading itself was enjoyable, Lockhart’s writing was pleasant to read and she articulated Cady’s memory troubles well in her writing, building an uncertain tension that hinted towards the conclusion. So far, all the ingredients of a good read. The trouble was I found Cady herself to be quite an irritating character. She oozed privileged and teenage angst and whilst these aren’t the worst qualities in the world her self-pity was almost beyond tolerance. That being said the writing was gorgeous with some passages completely reeling me in. I wanted to like someone and to be excited by the plot.
The issue that really lowered my experience of reading ‘We Were Liars’ was the way I was just waiting to find out what had happened so I could put it behind me and move on. The mystery might’ve been more exciting to solve had it altered my experience of the book and made me question my initial reading. I wasn’t ‘sucker-punched’ as some readers claim to have been which I think was a real disappointment for me. I imagine had the twist had the desired effect I would’ve been ranting and raving about it as my favourite read of 2016 because I love twists and surprises; this one just didn’t cut the mustard.
Publishers Weekly Starred Review said “Lockhart has created a mystery with an ending most readers won’t see coming, one so horrific it will prompt some to return immediately to page one to figure out how they missed it.” I think they ought to have swapped ‘most’ for ‘some’ as for me, and others I’m sure, it didn’t have that effect, the only thing i felt like I was missing when I reached ‘the big reveal’ was a sense of shock.
All in all I really do still have faith in this read as it did have the potential to shock and entice. For me it didn’t hit the mark but I believe it’s worth the time it took to read.