Feels like: a litmus test for psychopathy.
Sounds like: “Beyond Amends” by Gus Dapperton Listen Here / 2018 HELLO YELLOW REVIEWS Playlist
“People are not mirrors-they don’t see you how you see yourself.”
Amber Reynolds is many things. She’s a wife to a man who seems distant and cold. She’s a sister to a woman who seems too perfect and often obsessed with control. She’s a host of a popular talk radio show, alongside a mean and cutthroat egomaniac. She’s a coma patient, able to hear her surroundings but incapable of moving or speaking. Amber Reynolds is also a liar, and one of this year’s most enigmatic unreliable narrators.
If you’ve read anything about this novel (and the book jacket will tell you straight away) this is a twisty-twist kind of thriller. There will be a million reviews saying something to the effect of “Wow, I didn’t see that coming!” or “Holy crap, if you think you’ve got this one figured out, you’re wrong!” and various other cliches. It’s not that the cliches aren’t true–they’re correct, you won’t figure it out, or at least you’ll figure out part of it but the rest will allude you–as well it should. Guessing the end of this book is like coming up with the right answer to that psychological test people ask you at parties to gage if you’re a psychopath–this type of thinking shouldn’t make sense to you, and if it does, be concerned.
Sometimes I Lie is a play on what we know about mental illness, and how it takes shape in our current media. The characters here have every blend of OCD, sociopathy, schizophrenia, compulsive lying, narcissism, Stockholm syndrome, the list is endless. Feeney opened up the DSM and threw a few darts and decided to write characters based on whatever hit. She’s got great aim apparently–she wrote about them all.
There’s nothing particularly stunning about this novel. It’s a fun but fast read, like an above average airplane read. I very much enjoyed the many sides of Amber, who played a villain so much better than a heroine. There are some painfully graphic scenes depicting rape that made my jaw drop with just how devastating they read, so trigger warning for those of you who avoid such things.
“Some people appear happy on the outside and you only know they’re broken inside if you listen as well as look.”
“Everyone you meet is inevitably flawed… I don’t avoid broken people because I think I’m better than them. I just don’t like looking at my own reflection.”
“We are all just ghosts of the people we hoped that we were and counterfeit replicas of the people we wanted to be.”
Thanks goes to my public library for my copy of the book–be sure to request your new fiction to save yourself money & support your local library!