what-i-saw

It was the cover of the book and the title that first grabbed me. There was something about the title “What I Saw and How I Lied” alone that made you want to find out more.  I read the first 3 pages and knew that book was leaving the bookstore with me. Arriving at home, I threw some jazz on and settled in to read.  It wasn’t long before Blundell had me completely sucked in. She had the jargon of the era down pat. I was thinking this book would make a great black and white movie. 

The war is over, soldiers are coming home back to loved ones and starting their life anew.  Evie has been waiting anxiously for stepfather Joe to come home. She can’t wait to be part of a family again.  Toward the end of the summer, Joe whisks Evie and her mom to a vacation to Florida.  Never mind that Evie is about to start school the following week and Palm Beach is a ghost town as it is off-season. Finally they find a hotel that is not boarded up – Le Mirage.  The hotel was beautiful but it wasn’t enough. Nothing else was open – the stores, the theater – nothing. On the bright side they are befriended by this wealthy, attractive couple, The Graysons, so not all is lost but still boredom doesn’t even begin to describe how Evie was feeling, until one night when everything changes.      

Evie meets and falls impossibly hard for Peter, a gorgeous, charamastic young man who  just happened to serve in the same military unit as Joe. This does not go over well with Joe and he warns Evie to stay away from Peter for he is not who he seems to be.  I don’t know about you but if a guy with a sexy smile and movie star good looks paid some attention to me, I might not be able to resist. 

 Is it  coincidence they they are all in Palm Beach together during the slowest time of the year or is there something more to the story? Even though she is itching to grow up, Evie learns that adults are not as perfect as they seem.  In an adult world, right and wrong, good and evil sometimes get skewed in the grand scheme of things.  A storm is brewing and I don’t mean just the one that is churning in the ocean off the Florida coast.  The aftermath will have repercussions for everyone involved and no one will be left unscathed.

Evie, is a character no matter what decade you live who is easily relatable to.  She was just a normal teenager wanting to grow up and dreamed of boys and the glamorous life full of makeup, music and movies. She was a good narrator – totally believable. Reading, I was able to grasp the big picture of what was going on or at least I thought I did. I knew something big was going to happen. This book was built on the power of lies and deceit. I just knew that Evie was going to suffer from heartbreak. Of course, Evie didn’t know and that is where the beauty of this story lies. I remember her saying that she noticed things but then she had to look at things again this time without her in the picture, wanting things to go her way.

If you just came across my review on whim and haven’t read this book yet, my advice is run out to your local library or bookstore today.  It’s well worth the read,  Blundell is deserving of the National Book Award – she combined romance, mystery and suspense superbly.

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