What I Saw and How I Lied (by Judy Blundell)

9 02 2011

Judy Blundell’s What I Saw and How I Lied attempts to be a bit of everything. Historical novel (post-WWII America), love story (first love jitters of a teenage girl for the mysterious stranger Peter), mystery novel (what’s really going on between Joe and Peter), coming-of-age story (though oblivious and innocent in the beginning, Evie starts to discover the powers of her own sexuality by the end of the book)… it’s like Blundell couldn’t really make up her mind and decided to throw it all in the mix. It’s almost impossible to pull that one off completely, even if you are the most experienced of authors.  And though Blundell has made a bit of an impression on the cat, I can’t say that  I was totally blown away by the story itself, which is a bit thin, if I’m honest.

Evie  Spooner is 15 and lives in New York when she gets uprooted to sunny Miami Florida by her stepfather Joe and her gorgeous-looking mother. Joe was in the war and hasn’t been the same since he returned, and he now wants to head his life in a different direction. Once in Florida it takes the story a good long time to really take off and then it seems be over before you know it. I would have been happily content with more of the societal tableau that graced the first 100 or so pages – post war America is interesting enough to dedicate an entire novel on – and I actually found the whole hurricane story a bit unnecessary.

Though the novel has plenty to like – Evie is an interestingly drawn character, the style of Blundell’s writing graciously mimics film noir and there are some interesting insights in post-war American society ( I had never heard of the Jewish and non-Jewish segregation of Miami Beach) – I wasn’t completely convinced. Style pretty much had to mask a rather thin storyline. Next time Blundell should put all her eggs in the same basket. Pick a genre and stick to it. The rest will follow later!



One response

21 02 2011

I think that this was an altogether good story. I think Blundell could have written it better, and made things a lot neater while putting events in order. I also think she could have give more information about what was happening during WWII and what exactly Joe did.

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