Pages: 224 pgs
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Challenges-Read’n’Review Challenge, 100+ Reading Challenge
Summary from publisher:
Coming of age in 1940s and 1950s America, Ramona Smollens takes her cues about female sexuality from Hollywood movie stars. None is more voluptuous than Rita Hayworth, the redhead who knows how to please a man and becomes a volcano of passion at her lover's touch, whose image inspired American flyers on their missions in World War II and even graced the first atomic bomb tested at the Bikini atoll. Ramona marries young and escapes her mother's house shortly after the death of her father. She takes with her a dark family secret, the sort of secret one simply did not talk about and that would stalk her as she matured into her role as wife and mother, remained a devoted daughter to her aging mother, and secretly harbored an obsession with the iconic Hayworth.
The fictional story Wagman tells of one woman's struggle with the conventions of her day is a bold literary achievement. Underpinning it all is the sad, unspoken truth of the real-life, flesh-and-blood Hayworth, the woman whose father sexually abused her. "Men go to bed with Gilda," She used to say, "but wake up with me." During Hayworth's lifetime, the public had no understanding of the depth of mean, and pain, behind Hayworth's seemingly self-effacing words. To Ramona, and millions of women like her, Hayworth's on-screen persona seemed the ideal, but was in fact "the lie." With this novel, Wagman realizes Kafkas famous dictum that "a book must be the axe that breaks the frozen sea within us."
What a novel! This book was interesting, unique and engaging. The Lie gave me so much to think about. The first thing I noticed about the book was the cover. It was eye catching and pretty. I would have bought this book in the bookstore with a cover like this.
First of all, the writing is beautiful. It is written in a stream of consciousness type of form. It reads almost like a lyric. This form of narrative gives you an excellent insight into the inner workings of Ramona’s mind. I also thought that it was beautifully written. Books that are written in this style are normally difficult for me to relate to and like but I found that it was not the case with this one. I don’t think I would have liked this book as much if it had been written in any other way.
I loved Ramona. She was a great narrator. I loved being in her head for the two days I was reading this novel. She was completely honest in her thoughts. I truly liked her.
This issues that this book deals with are so interesting and so reflective of the struggle women have to go through. Ramona is literally in a battle with her own pre-conceived notions of sexuality. She sees Rita Hayworth as an ideal and constantly sees herself as falling short. It becomes so embedded in her psyche that she begins to believe her husband is having an affair with the superstar. I think all women go through this in some form or another.
I think all women should pick this book up. It really is an interesting book and makes you think.