Wednesday, March 14, 2012

The Truth About Us by Dalene Flannigan

3 Star

What happens when the past catches up to the present and the truth surfaces? Three women, roommates back in college, find their lives forever altered when one of them feels compelled to confess the secret sin of their past. 

And whose secret is it?


 Lydia - 3 Star

Should every secret be told?  Does the truth always come out?  Does it set you free?  What if its not your secret to tell? Can we ever really know everything about someone else? The Truth About Us is a fast paced and thought provoking read that raises many questions. It tackles a heavier and controversial subject matter and I was immediately intrigued by the mystery surrounding the three women and their pasts and how it impacts their futures.

Flannigan’s strength is clearly with tense and tender scenes and I quickly began to find myself wanting more of them. The Truth About Us is told via alternating viewpoints and eventually too many memories unfold as the characters wander around doing something without any significant scene taking place. I think actual flashbacks, as much as I’m not a huge fan, might have strengthened this story for me. It probably also explains why my favourite character was Erica. She had the most interactive scenes.

The friendship between these women troubled me. Grace’s depiction of her budding relationship with Erica’s felt real to me and I would have loved a couple more scenes to solidify it, but Jude?  I never completely understood it, especially as she simply responded to an ad for a room for rent and the other two ended up feeling sorry for her and that was pretty much the extent of it. I wanted more details of how they became such ‘close friends’ and they required some serious bonding in my opinion to help and trust one another with the secret like they did. But it never happened. For the most part they just seemed like three women who were thrown together in a house for college. Because of this, it was a stretch for me to believe the events that unfolded, both past and present.
Further character development would have definitely strengthened this story. The characters didn’t have much warmth to them and were mostly one sided. Grace was cold and hardened. Jude was lost and her path to redemption damning and Erica was living her life waiting for disaster.  Erica was the only character I really cared about in the end and I loved reading about her relationship troubles with her husband.  Their scenes were tender and heart wrenching.  I loved them.  More of this with other characters would have been beneficial as we never see Grace with anyone else until the end and Jude is only ever seen interacting with her pastor. I understand that they were both more tortured souls, and understandably so, and maybe their distance and detachment was Flannigan’s point, but I needed more from them to grow attached and root for them. I’ve read other novels with tortured souls and grew attached, so something was definitely lacking in this respect.
Overall, this was a good read, I just think it could have been much stronger. The plot was interesting, although possibly a bit too heavy on the portrayal of all men as evil, the angst of Erica and her husband came through perfectly and the questions the novel raises were intriguing. 

Thank you to Dalene Flannigan for our review copy!

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