Mini Synopsis: Romano Smollens is a “damaged” young woman who meets her future husband on a bench in the park. She is immediately attracted to him on several levels and marries him quickly in her youthful confusion and to escape her unstable and abusive home. Her life is better in the house of her new husband but she is stuck in a pattern of self doubt that she cannot reconcile and which, causes her emotional difficulties and ultimately leading to disastrous results.
My Thoughts: I cannot say that I enjoyed this book, however books of this nature are not meant to be enjoyed. It is an important book in that it addresses many issues that women face in their lives. In her writing the author uses a “flow of consciousness” style which serves in understanding the main character Romona. She speaks to us in the first person telling us her story through convoluted thought patterns, mental confusion, and instability. As the story progresses these difficulties become apparent. She has an imbalanced self image due to comparing herself to celebrities and unrealistic iconic images; these images have a negative role on her self esteem; it is clear that her family relationships have a role in making her self image; and that her heredity affects her sanity. We the reader ultimately realize that her feelings toward her self, sexuality, fidelity, and the ability to be honest with others even at the cost of one’s safety – either emotional or physical is at the core of her imbalance. This is an intense and difficult read in its content. It begs to be discussed making it an excellent choice for a woman’s book group.
Here is a quote regarding Romona’s feelings about her sexuality:
…he probably thought I was excited too – I wasn’t … for me it was about my effect on him – that was all … For me it was about discovering an allure that I seemed to be developing…
My rating is 3 stars out of 5. Translation – I liked it. I would recommend this book to women and/or reading groups wanting to read about and/or discuss important issues for women as a whole.
For further information about Fredrica Wagman – her web site has further information regarding questions and issues for book groups. For the author’s info and for purchasing the book please see Layers of Thought’s preview of The Lie.
This book serves as #2 of the 5 point task in the Goodread’s NBBC Summer 2009 reading challenge.