Monday, March 29, 2021

The Kindest Lie by Nancy Johnson

Rating: 4 of 5 stars
Pages: 336 pages
Published: February 2021

The Kindest Lie by Nancy Johnson is a literary fiction debut by Chicago native, Nancy Johnson. In this novel, she takes us back to 2008 on the heels on Obama's presidential election where her protagonist, Ruth Tuttle, an engineer and her equally successful husband, Xavier are living a comfortable middle class life in Chicago, Illinois. They've been married just long enough for Xavier to start getting excited about expanding their family. What he doesn't know is what is holding his beloved wife back. She was forced to give up a child she bore when she was a senior in high school. As secrets often do, this one finds its way out into the light and threatens Ruth and Xavier's bond. To qualm her anxieties about the decision she was pushed into nearly a decade prior and in hopes of reconciling with Xavier, Ruth goes back home to Indiana. While there, she befriends a young boy, Midnight, and their lives intertwine as she searches for answers. 

This story was equal parts literary and mystery as the reader follows Ruth on her path to learn about the son she gave up and how it affected the grandmother who raised her and older brother who felt responsible for protecting her. The story alternates between the third person perspectives of Ruth and Midnight that provide pieces of information that ultimately bring the story full circle in the end. With the novel set in the not too distant past, I think it made it more interesting to read with the awareness of present-day situations, such as race relations and economic positions. Overall, I found the novel to be a bit predictable with a satisfying conclusion. I would have liked the author to develop Xavier's character a bit more by including him more in the middle of the book (not just the beginning and short ending). 

Recommendation: Falling into the same generation as the protagonist and understanding her academic and professional aspirations, I found this book very relatable. However, I think it is a worthwhile read for anyone looking for something to devour over the weekend. 

Until next time ... Read on!

Regardless of whether I purchase a book, borrow a book, or receive a book in exchange for review, my ultimate goal is to be honest, fair, and constructive. I hope you've found this review helpful.


Post a Comment