Author: Frederica Wagman
No. of Pages: 214
First Released: April 2009
Synopsis (Courtesy of FSB Associates): Coming of age in the 1940s and 1950s America, Ramona Smollens takes her cues about female sexuality from Hollywood movie stars. Ramona marries young and carries a dark family secret, the sort of secret one simply did not talk about and that would stalk her as she matures into her role as wife and mother and remains a devoted daughter to her aging mother.
Comments and Critique: This book is one of the more haunting, compelling books I’ve read in a while. Ramona’s struggle is heart-wrenching. I wanted to be able to put the book down and forget about her problems but found that I couldn’t. Even when I wasn’t reading the book, I was haunted by her questions and issues, including while I slept.
It took me a while to realize what the struggle actually was, let alone the lie around which the entire book circles. Ms. Wagman gives the reader hints and clues about them both from the very beginning, but it didn’t dawn on me that they were clues until about midway through the book. Suddenly, the beginning made much more sense. More importantly, I could see the ending approaching. However, by that point in time, I was so vested in Ramona’s struggle that I was rooting for her and praying that I was wrong about that ending up until the final moments. Twenty-four hours later, and I am still haunted by the ending.
Ms. Wagman presents some of the most beautiful passages, ones that will stay with me for a while. I don’t normally mark books in any way, nor do I write down favorite quotes or sections because I try to go with my overall feelings. The Lie forced me to stop and reread entire paragraphs because of the message contained within. My favorite: “failure has nothing to do with rejection, or with humiliation, or with losing; it has only to do with not fighting back” (p. 123).
There are some extremely powerful emotions occurring that pull the reader into hundreds of different directions but leave you completely shattered in the end. Because of that, or rather in spite of that, I am so glad that I read this book and would definitely recommend this to others. I was completely mesmerized by Ramona’s story, and Ramona herself will remain with me for a long time to come.
Thank you to Julie Harabedian at FSB Associates for allowing me the pleasure of reviewing this book!