I hate liars.
Being a Christian, I’m supposed to be all about the love and oozing the warm and fuzzies for all of humanity. But when it comes to people who can’t seem to tell the truth to save their lives…
pure, unadulterated, loathing I struggle with the “love them as you love yourself” thing.
Why I decided to read Andrew Hart’s (aka A.J. Hartley) Lies that Bind Us despite hating the main character, a pathological liar named Jan, before I even began reading the book… no idea. (Probably because it was a free book and sounded semi-interesting).
A little about the book…
Basically, Jan and some friends are on a reunion vacation to relive a trip they had taken five years ago in Greece. The group includes her ex-boyfriend, Marcus, and their friends Simon and Melissa (a wealthy couple who organize the whole trip), and Kristin and Brad (a TV star and a real estate professional). Jan and Marcus are the outsiders of the group. Jan works in a retail store that sounds a lot like Walmart and Marcus is a high school history teacher. When Jan gets to Crete, there is another woman joining them, Gretchen, and no one except Simon and Melissa know why she’s even there.
The book goes back and forth between Jan being locked up in a cell somewhere with no idea how she’s gotten there, and the play-by-play of the trip as she tries to recall what happened prior to waking up a prisoner. She learns a lot about herself and comes to terms with some hard truths about the past (in more ways than one) as the book goes on.
A little about what I thought…
In general, I really enjoyed the story. It was super interesting and kept me guessing the whole time (which I happen to love while reading a novel). I felt as if I knew the characters and went through everything with them (which I also happen to love). Generally speaking, when a book gives me those two things, I’m raving about it to everyone that’ll listen! Unfortunately…
I was a little put off by the opening of the book, and not just because the main character lies about almost EVERYTHING. There seemed to be too much description and not enough story over the first few chapters. Oddly, dispersed between the over describing were places that I felt could have been flushed out a little more. Thankfully, this wasn’t something that happened throughout the entire book and once I was past the first 3 or 4 chapters I could barely put it down!
Most surprising to me was that I actually found myself relating to Jan! Despite being a pathological liar, she is actually quite sympathetic and you can’t help but love her. I saw myself in her as she rode to the villa after arriving in Crete:
I was sitting with my carry-on in my lap, which felt ridiculous and uncomfortable. The car was huge, and I could have easily tossed it into the back seat or the trunk, but now I was belted in and had been there for so long that turning around and trying to get rid of it felt stupid for reasons I couldn’t explain. So I sat with the bag in my lap and my arms around it, like it was one of those under-seat float cushions the flight attendants had told us about…
What can I say? I’ve got a soft spot for people who are just as awkward as me!
Lies that Bind Us is actually a little scary in that it had me thinking about 1) just how well do I really know my friends and 2) just how vulernable am I when we’re hanging out together???
So here’s my incredibly condensed review:
On a scale of 1-5, I’d give Lies that Bind Us a 3.5. It’s a great story with compelling, likable characters, but I was pulled out of the book too often to give it a 4 and since I can’t see myself ever reading it again, it’s definitely not a 5. I would recommend it as a “should read” with the warning that it’s one of those books you’ll need to get through the first few chapters before you find yourself enjoying it.
I’d love to hear from you! If you’ve read Lies that Bind Us, what did you think? If you haven’t, are you put off by the idea of a pathological liar as a main character?