Tuesday, November 24, 2009

What I Saw and How I Lied-Judy Blundell

This is my very first blog posting and I'm really, REALLY excited! I've always wanted to share my thoughts on the material that I view with people who have the same interests as myself. Not only that but I hope to learn from others as well and hopefully we can branch out of our comfort zones. Well! With that being said let's get started!

A book that I just read recently read was What I Saw and How I Lied by Judy Blundell. I'm going to say from now that if I can find the description on Amazon.com then I'll use it instead.

In 1947, 15-year-old Evie, her mother, Bev, and her stepfather, Joe, leave Brooklyn for a vacation in Palm Beach, FL, during the off season. There they meet Arlene and Tom Grayson, who lavish attention on the family and convince Joe to go into the hotel business with them.
When Peter, an army acquaintance of Joe's, appears, Evie is smitten by his charm and attention. Her budding interest in romance, while protectively discouraged by her parents, is actually encouraged by Arlene, who helps Evie develop a sense of style. Evie enjoys her outings with Peter and interprets her mother's insinuating presence as protective, when in reality Bev is having an affair with the younger man. Joe's jealous distrust of his wife, established while he was at war in Europe, does not obviate the intimacy between Bev and Peter. Evie's closeness to her mother will not permit her to acknowledge the affair even when it becomes impossible to deny.
Meanwhile pervading anti-Semitism sours the hotel deal, and the Graysons are forced out of Palm Beach. When Joe insists on one last boat trip, Peter dies during a storm and Joe is accused of murder. It is during the ensuing hearing that Evie learns that adults, even those closest to her, are not always what they seem.
Blundell navigates this multidimensional plotline with unique, well-developed characters and insightful dialogue. Yet it is Evie and her rapidly maturing perception of herself and those around her that carry the story. In many ways she becomes the adult in the group, motivated by truth and justice rather than greed or superficial appearances.
I felt kind of iffy about this book. Sure, it had a strong storyline and the characters were very believable however I found myself forcing myself to finish the book. It's just that I was waiting the entire time for the family to admit that "Yes, we did in fact kill Peter. We struck him over the head and pushed him overboard and sent him pummeling to his death." I know that the more affiliation that you have with a person gives you every more of a reason to do them in. However, Evie is a 15-year old girl. Whether it be in 1947 or 2009 you can't get past a teenager. I also didn't like how Mrs. Grayson took over the role of mother. I know that sometimes life throws us a bone and an aunt or grandmother comes along to save us from our mother's ironclad rules. On the other hand there comes a limit. If my daughter is wearing something that I don't think is very appropriate then I'm going to say something and not let a stranger make those kinds of decisions for me.
At some points I felt as though the book was going in a rather routine fashion. They would go to eat breakfast, Peter would show up, Evie would get butterflies, and then Joe would get mad. And then there was the fact the the hotel was empty the entire time! I think that throughout the book there were only about 7 prominent characters. Blundell didn't even bother to include the other three characters seeing as how they were the only company that they had! I think that the book might have been more mysterious if the hotel was packed with people. That way there could have been more characters to look out for and more secrets to hide. It was really lame how the author portrayed Palm Beach like some dirtbowl town and then all of a sudden the media swarms in like bees to honey.
What I did like was the dialect of the story. It took place just before the 50s where everything was "swell", and "happenin'", and "mighty fine". A book where the men came home after fighting the good fight to come home to the girls that they were fighting for. The main character Evie is 15-yars old which, in this time period, I didn't like so much. This means you're practically an adult and that you can run off and get married if you wanted. Evie was a bit too mature and somewhat made the story stale with her make-believe logic that any man with a nice face and a cool demeanor was the man of her dreams that could do no wrong. I mean, this was the era of James Dean so you could only just imagine. If I could give this story a rating I'd have to give it 3/5. Something to pass the time, but not to recommend to someone else.
Thank you for reading my very first blog! I think I did a pretty good job on it! At least I'd hope so! Please come back and read more of my blogs!