This is my truth, after all. And that is not the same as the truth.
this is an o-kay thriller, but a much better character study that takes the reader deep into the mind of a woman who isn’t gonna let her best friend of nearly twenty years slip out of her life and into a domestic bubble that easily, especially not with that man.
jane and marnie have been besties since they were eleven years old, despite being—you guessed it—total opposites. where marnie is warm, open, confident, jane is cautious, watchful, braced for disappointment. as jane recounts to the novel’s ‘you,’
She is light where I am dark. I knew it then.
Now you’ll know it, too.
although congenitally predisposed to this darkness, jane’s life has given her plenty of reasons to be less sunshiny than marnie: her mother is in a home suffering from dementia, her sister has been battling anorexia for years, and, after unexpectedly meeting and marrying the love of her life, jane was widowed young and tragically after only a few months’ bliss, sending her into a grief so profound that it derailed her career. and through it all, marnie was there for her.
so now that marnie has found her own true love, the handsome and wealthy charles, jane will be the first one to step up and root for their happiness, right?
jane just does not yike charles. in fact, she says, “I had never hated anyone the way I hated him.” and that much vehemence must stem from more than mere jealousy, right? more than a woman platonically obsessed with her best friend, more than a woman who simply cannot afford to lose anyone else? what’s the deal, jane?
jane’s not telling yet—when marnie asks her if she thinks charles is right for her, jane is afraid to share her true feelings about him, assuring her that they are meant to be and of course they have her blessing. and that was the first of the titular seven lies.
If I had been honest—if I had sacrificed our love for theirs—then Charles would almost certainly still be alive.
AND THAT IS THE END OF CHAPTER ONE.
the rest of the book shows the ripple effects of mendacity; how one lie necessitates the scramble to manufacture additional lies, each one only delaying the inevitable; jane helplessly watching the slow-approaching train of doom her first lie set in motion, uncomfortably aware of the irony that the polite lie she told to avoid any awkwardness between them has been responsible for so much worse. TFW you are your own undoing &etc.
jane is a fascinating character; somewhere 3/4 of the way on the road between ‘sympathetic antihero’ and ‘sociopath,’ but the rest of the characters, even the most-perfect-ever marnie, are a little one-note.
some of my dislikes: the journalist character seemed unrealistically…dogged. i get that her persistence was just another kind of obsession, but her stubborn pursuit of a story; doubling down on finding “something” even after so many of her speculations had been demonstrably incorrect came across more as “obstacle contrived for drama” than “how a professional journalist behaves, even in her side-gig.” i also didn’t get why the mom-stuff was such a BFD. seems to me that a girl like our jane could have deflected any of that without breaking a sweat.
still, an enjoyable debut with a pleasantly soapy aftertaste.