The book is a short one. About 200 pages long. It covers the life of Ramona Smollens. She didn’t have much of a life to begin with. Her father treated her horribly. Her mother didn’t care and was more concerned about herself. She lives with her mother, as her father had recently passed away. Yet her mother still treats her like dirt. So, in order to get away from this she married an older man; Solomon Columbus. Thinking married life is as glamorous as they make it out to be in Hollywood, Ramona emulates starlet Rita Hayworth. It isn’t until later when she realizes that married life and everything else with it, and that it isn’t how the movies say it is. She then sees that everything she’s tried to imitate is all part of “the lie”.
It’s hard to describe how I felt while reading The Lie by Fredrica Wagman. It was strange. It’s in first person narrative yet you’re reading through her stream of thoughts. They’re all jarbled and they fleet from one thing to another. It’s hard to make out the dialogue and then you suddenly realize she’s talking to herself (not out loud, but talking to herself mentally). It’s difficult to get used to at first. I think it’s because there’s so much use of the hyphens and everything is just all a mess. I think what’s trying to be done is to show how much of a mess Ramona is inside, whereas on the outside she’s different.
As you go further into the novel where she really starts acting irrational, you start to wonder what’s real and what’s not. At this point, I try to make out what’s really going on through this story, and even now I’m still not sure but I got the general idea. As you look into Ramona’s relationship with her mother (which isn’t that great but Ramona puts up with it). Now, her mother is a selfish uncaring person, she’s also one of those evil old vipers you sometimes see on television, who are so narcissistic you just want to leave them locked in a room filled with mirrors and they’d probably be happy for the rest of their lives. However, as you get to know her mother through the eyes of Ramona, and towards the end of the story, you start to see that Ramona inevitably starts becoming more like her mother. It’s actually rather horrible to see.
The ending is shocking, and sad. I wasn’t really expecting it and it totally blindsided me when I finished reading the book. I did a little background research though and I noticed the book does have similarities in regards to the life of Rita Hayworth. I’ll leave that to you readers. I didn’t realize it until I finished reading the wikipedia entry about her. 😀
Overall an interesting read, albeit rather difficult to get into and I had a rather hard time following. Although the ending is sad and unexpected, you’re left feeling rather sober and serious.
I give it a 5 out of 10. (It was a hard read, I admit)