Wednesday, March 2, 2016

The Truth According to Us

by Annie Barrows

A story about a small town and the Federal Writer's Project, which the FDR administration put into place during the Great Depression in order to fund & support writers (you're welcome, I won't go there). Although this story had a lot going on, it was slow moving. The daughter of a US Senator, Layla Beck rebels against her father's wishes for her future, so he sends her off to live among the commoners in the hopes of teaching her a lesson. She is assigned to the town of Macedonia, WV where she dives right into the middle of the strange happenings of the founding family.

The bulk of The Truth According to Us is told from the perspective of the 12 year-old Willa Romeyn as she too is trying to uncover some of the mysteries surrounding her family. And that is where I think the book falls flat, because there are just too many of them to follow. Willa's father is mixed up in some bootlegging venture as well as having some shady past related to the family business. One aunt has two secret loves, two others have some convoluted marriages and living arrangements, there's an old arson mystery and some dead people who are haunting everyone. Oh, and there's more! For some reason, the entire town resents this family, there is some sibling rivalry between the two brothers, there's some sneaking and spying and flirtations and on and on it goes.

In general, Barrows does capture the feel of a small town but spreads her story too thin to capture interest in the people living there. It's just ok.

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