Thank you so much to SourceBooks and Netgalley for providing me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Lies You Wanted To Hear is the debut novel from 67 year old Thomson. Major props to the author for sticking with his dream and for writing a remarkable story. There is a lovely interview at the back of the book that explains how he began writing this book, and writing in general. But read the story first!
Lucy and Matt begin their marriage on a lie. This is a classic case of one partner loving more than the other and the consequences both spouses suffer because of it. Lucy is impulsive and flighty and never comfortable with the role of wife and mother. Matt, on the other hand, seems born for domestication. They make it work as best they can for a while but eventually they both realize, in dramatic fashion, that they can no longer go on as they are. The shocking choices both Matt and Lucy make over the course of the book will definitely make the reader question their own thoughts and actions, no matter how honorable.
Thomson does something remarkable here – he has created two characters that at times are very unlikeable, Lucy moreso than Matt – and made me care about them. Lucy is painted, rightly, as a selfish free spirit, but its also obvious she deeply loves her children and is struggling to find her place in the world. She makes a lot of mistakes, but she’d certainly not all bad. Matt is the steady, faithful father, “the good guy” but he had some explosive moments that made me wonder what else was lurking inside him. For an author to paint such multi-faceted, flawed characters and convince the reader to sympathize with them even after HUGE missteps, is a sign, for me, of great talent.
This one boils down to the story of a marriage, plain and simple. If you enjoy reading about intense characters, family dynamics, or psychology, I would recommend picking it up. I think fans of Jodi Picoult, Wally Lamb, and other great “bookclub” authors, will devour this. On a personal note, I giggled to see that the character Matt grew up in Butler, PA, where I have a number of personal connections.
4/5 – a really solid, page-turning debut!