I am SO glad I am not in my 20s anymore. That’s the takeaway from Carola Lovering’s novel Tell Me Lies. This is the story of Lucy Albright and Stephen DeMarco, East coasters who are both on the West Coast attending Baird, a small college in Southern California.
Told from two different perspectives, both in the past and in the present, Tell Me Lies unspools the story of Lucy and Stephen’s relationship. If ‘relationship’ is actually what you want to call it.
So, Lucy is this beautiful and privileged girl from Cold Spring Harbour, Long Island. She’s traveled all the way across the country, mostly to escape her mother, CJ. Once they were close, but then the “Unforgiveable Thing” happened and Lucy stopped calling her mother Mom, and started using her initials. The “Unforgiveable Thing” weighs heavy on Lucy’s fragile psyche.
Stephen is also damaged goods, but his damage takes the form of sociopathy. Well, at least I think there’s something seriously wrong with him. Is he meant to be charming? Irresistible? Well, he is to Lucy, at least.
I’ll never forget his eyes. I think I’ll lie in bed years from now, when I have children and my children have children, and I’ll see those two bottle-green orbs, watching me, on the precipice of changing everything.
Okay, I get it. We’ve all been in love with the “wrong one.” The guy you can’t seem to get away from – mostly because you don’t want to get away from them. You chalk it up to chemistry because, hey, in its thrall you are helpless. Been there. Done that. Was I this big of an idiot, though?
I say idiot because Stephen is a player with a capital D (for dick). His shtick is to reel Lucy in, then let her go. Repeat. He has the ability to make her (and all the other girls he hooks up with) feel validated, understood, listened to. Also, apparently, despite the fact that he is not drop-dead good looking, he is mighty fine in the sack. Moth meet flame.
Tell Me Lies is well-written, but it doesn’t really have anything new to say on the subject of being with the wrong person. And at the end of the day, Lucy has learned nothing about herself. When the novel opens, she’s hung over, having just spent the night with her super-hot leech of a boyfriend, Dane. C’mon girl. Get it together.