Thursday, July 17, 2014

REVIEW: Lies Like Love by Louisa Reid

Lies Like Love by Louisa Reid is one of those books that will stay with me for a very long time.  It's an uncomfortable, unsettling and it made me feel a whole range of feelings from rage and disappointment and frustration, hope, and ultimately a sorrowful sadness.  I love how emotional the experience of reading this book was for me and I was quite surprised by how much of an impact this book had on me.

It probably shouldn't have been a surprise for me though, as I knew going into this book that it would be a story about mental illness and about a complicated relationship between a mother and daughter.  And I thought both major aspects of the book were done really well. And aside from this I also really enjoyed the secondary characters and the way in which the reader is slowly let into more of the story.

Lies Like Love is told from a dual-perspective. We get into the heads of both Audrey, a teenage girl who has just moved into this old building with her mother and little brother, and also Leo, a neighbour who has experience and an understanding of the effects of mental illness.  Both Audrey and Leo share their own stories and while Audrey's story feels more prominent and features more throughout the book, I also really loved hearing more about Leo and his relationship with his mother whose expectations of perfection and over-achievement led Leo to a nervous breakdown and to move in with his more relaxed aunt.

I found Audrey to be quite the unreliable narrator as we learn some things about the reasons behind her family's move and about some of her depression and self-harm and the ways in which these things manifest themselves in her life and the effect it has on her and her family.  There are numerous trips to the hospital and doctor visits for Audrey's depression and her self-harm. I found it really difficult to read how Audrey's mother is in full control over Audrey's treatment and also what is being explained on Audrey's behalf to medical professionals but I think that this idea that Audrey finds it difficult to put into words how much she battles with her demons is an important aspect of this book.  As the story goes on however, it is shown slowly that there is more to Audrey's issues than the reader first realises.

And while Lies Like Love is certainly heavy in parts and it covers really serious and also a difficult range of topics, there is also tenderness and hope and beauty in this story. Some love can be cause for destruction and pain but there is also some types of love like Audrey's love for her little brother and there is also the budding feelings between Audrey and Leo that really balance out some of the other darker elements of this story which was much needed.

Lies Like Love was not an easy read. At times it felt haunting, unsettling and deeply uncomfortable.  I couldn't read anything after I finished this book because I felt so strongly about the events that happened and all of my thoughts about it were still swirling around in my head long after the book ended.  It really has been awhile since I read a book that so powerfully affected me and I'm so glad that I picked up this book to read.  I do really recommend it!

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