We Were Liars by E. Lockhart
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Cadence (Cady) grows up slightly insulated from the world - the first grandchild born to the weathly Harris and Tupper. Her mother is one of the Harris' three daughters, all of whom have their own children and each of whom vie for their father's affection (and eventual inheritance). During the summer's, Cady stays on a private island with her family, growing up with her cousins - including a group they call the Liars, composed her herself, her cousins Mirren and Johnny, and Johnny's friend, Gat. Thick as thieves during the summer, it seems like nothing can separate the quartet - but is that really true?
So, this is a tough one to review. I'd heard a lot of glowing things and this had a ton of positive reviews from my friends. Even my stepmom (who lent the book to me) liked it. So maybe my expectations were just too high when I read it, but I felt "eh." That's not to say that I didn't find the big *ahh spoilery ending* to be amazing and shocking. I did, and I felt wowed and, yes, a bit amazed, and did sort of want to re-read things in that context.
But, I don't think I could. Because, overall, I found the book kind of annoying. I certainly don't think you have to like every character you read about, but good grief, I just found Cady whiny and deplorable. She and her entitled cousins were so irritating. Johnny's friend, Gat, attempts to bring them back to reality (Gat's heritage is Indian, meaning Cady's grandfather despises him and also forbids Cady's aunt to marry Gat's uncle, or risk being disinherited), but he definitely fails. The aunts are selfish and petty and only care about their inheritance, not their children. Lockhart's prose is lovely in many places, but in others just confusing - the metaphors and use of language to refer to Cady's illness (she suffers from migraines and such) is borderline confusing.
The ending was jarring, yes (don't read any spoilers - it won't be worth it), but the rest of the book didn't seem to be matched to it. I didn't see the point of all Cady's whining and the family squabbles. Just because the family was rich, they weren't interesting, nor mysterious. Perhaps I missed the larger point, but I was left shaking my head.
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