The Truth According to Us
by Annie Barrows
star rating = I liked the book well enough, but I had some issues
I received an
ARC from NetGalley in return for an honest review.
A new historical fiction by the co-author of The
Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society? Whose grammar do I
have to correct?!
The Truth According to Us
focuses on the Romeyn family and their new boarder, a young woman
working on the Federal Writer's Project to write a history of the
small town, Macedonia. The book takes place in the summer of 1938,
during the Depression, and it feels like stepping into history. It
didn't have any excessive or uninteresting textbook history lessons,
but gave me a real sense and taste for what it would have been like
to live then. Especially in the Southern heat. My goodness, I never
want to experience that kind of sweltering summer. The descriptions
here were more than enough to convey how miserable that would
It's hard to pinpoint a certain genre for this, because it has
a touch of everything. It's a love story, tragedy, historical
fiction, coming-of-age, mystery. There are a lot of interesting
characters, several diverse and wonderful points of view, a
12-year-old wannabe sleuth, a workers' strike, and a majority of
smart and witty female characters.
I laughed out loud at the
history lessons Jottie Romeyn gives Miss Layla Beck for The
History of Macedonia. I cried with Willa on the roof. As the
long-buried secret is revealed, layer by layer, I yelled at
characters not to fall for the lies, and pitied them, and cheered
when they found their strength.
The wonderful array of POV
characters -there are three who help narrate the story, Aunt Jottie
with the broken heart, the WPA writer Miss Layla Beck, and
12-year-old sneak Willa- offers varied perspectives of not only the
story, but the many facets of the characters and the unfolding
mystery. Learning more and more about the mystery the characters dig
up was twice as interesting seeing it from so many different angles.
I particularly loved the intermittent conversations via letters, a la
Guernsey, between Layla Beck and her friends and family, and we are
offered entertaining snippets of The History of Macedonia.
The characters are all flawed, are all so human and genuine and
Barrows did an excellent job bringing this story
to life. In turns hilarious, heart-breaking, maddening, and always
incredibly real, The Truth According To Us was a hard book
to put down.
While I didn't enjoy this book as much as I adore
Guernsey, I did like it (I'd probably read it again in a few years).
This story is not quite as light-hearted, there's a semi-depressing
element, some bedroom scene references/allusions, and occasional