Book Review: The Truths and Lies of Ella Black by Emily Barr

The Truths and Lies of Ella Black
Author: Emily Barr
Publisher: Penguin
Rating: 3.5/5

The human mind is like a huge pile of marbles on top of a waffle- order and chaos on the same plate. The dualistic nature of the human psyche is very evident. Our aim is to get the marbles merge with the waffle and taste good on the same plate. To simplify the same metaphorical expression it would be right to say that the gentle side and the diabolical side constitute one mind. It becomes our ultimate goal to balance these two.

The Truths and Lies of Ella Black’ is a story that pushes the boundaries of fiction genre. The different threads that weave through this book to create a close-knit and enthralling plot are incredible. Part coming-of-age, part psychodynamics of Delusion or Possession Syndrome, part family conflict/ breakdown and part background mystery, The Truths and Lies of Ella Black has it all. Ella Black is haunted by her bad side, which she calls as ‘Bella Black’. Unable to resurrect her true identity, she is mostly down in the dumps. Her savage and unlikeable-self takes turns and showcases us the rebellious and violent Bella. But before the character becomes unlikeable, Ella takes charge and pulls herself out from the mess. The first part of the story describes how Ella strives to live in a fool’s paradise by concealing her emotional and mental trauma. The first half lacks significant action but the latter half amplifies it significantly including the introduction of characters like Christian, Alex and Jasmine who are all projected in the good light.

With succinct descriptions and strong narration, the author scaffolds the characters in a way that they have several layers. Each layer is peeled off as the story progresses. We see so many sides of Ella Black herself- she is timid, she is rebellious, she is gentle and in love, she is violent, she is ambivalent about her own parents, she is impulsive and so on. As the character of Ella develops, the story digresses from the usual course. At times I found instances which did not connect well with the storyline like Ella meeting Ana Paula and Julia. Too many cooks spoil the broth and here these strangers behave like fleeting memories. It becomes difficult to remember their names at one point.

The idea is strong; it talks about how a seventeen-year-old behaves when she finds out something devastating about her past. She lets Bella take full control. Here we realize that the suspense thread of the unsolved conflict is expertly plotted. The dual nature of the protagonist has been flawlessly executed. However, the climax left me dissatisfied. Where on one hand the turmoil seemed genuine, the quest to stay hidden from everyone is illusory.

Overall, the book has an intriguing blurb that passes the muster and serves as a good appetizer. Reading is a breeze owing to fine font and print. There are places where commas have been skipped. But that doesn’t count as a major drawback. I would recommend everyone to read at least one book from the author because her writing style is very different from what we all read daily.

Best Wishes to the author!

Buying Link: Amazon

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