Posted in books, family

The power of words and We Were Liars by E Lockhart


I’ve always been infatuated with words. You can take them, stretching their meaning by stringing them together with other words, creating an emotional punch in gut while describing a toilet. Think about that.

Words can lift us up higher than heaven, and words and drop us down to the deepest pits of hell.

There is so much outside stimulus in the world, so much always going on, that words sometimes get diluted. The television is always on; and, when it’s not on, the radio is on in the car or the stereo is on in the house. Maybe it’s word-noise from your significant other, or your children, or your parents, or your boss. There is all of that, and more, and there has always been, and there probably always will be.

Because of all the outside noise, I often retreat to the written word for solace. The written word holds the most power for me. By placing the right words in the right order, the author changes me. Without special effects and backdrops, an author’s words transport me from my home to Tokyo, Paris, Narnia, or Hogwarts. I can be transported to the past or the future, or even a parallel present. The right words strung together in the right order produce magical, mystical adventures through time, space, and possibility. They create emotional, visceral reactions through fictional (and sometimes non-fictional) characters that I come to know better than my best friends.

Words from those we know and love have the same power. A love note from my husband, a Christmas card from an old friend, a scribbled note from my child can change my day from bad to good, lifting my mood and making me smile. And a text message spewing hate and anger from someone I love can do the opposite, bringing me to tears and breaking my heart.

I got such a text message this week. I know I make mistakes, and I know there are things I do that drive the ones I love nuts. But to know I inspired a sibling to such anger, anger that is focused on me and my family, is mind-boggling. I wish there was something that could repair the damage that text message caused, but it the damage is done. Once those words were sent to me, it was too late. Fingers flew across the screen, spewing hateful thoughts, and then the SEND button was consciously pushed. It was typed deliberately and with malice. Even if it was in the heat of the moment, it was purposely sent to cause pain and to hurt.

At some point in life, probably sooner than later, he will apologize and I will forgive. It will be explained away as impulsive and not really meant, sent in the moment and regretted. But it’s not the first time, and those words weren’t forgotten either. It’s not the impulse of a childhood fight, with words spoken with hormonally charged emotions.  It won’t be forgotten, and it’s intent will be felt for a long time.

So, the morale is, use your words to fill those you love (or even like) with good. Write a positive post on Facebook. Tweet something nice. Try to be the balloon that lifts someone up instead of the boulder that drags them down. Be the light, not the dark. Be the helium, not the radon (the heaviest noble gas; I had to look that one up).

Get on your texting machines and send someone a positive text. Leave the negative for your journal. Oh, and start a journal. That’s a great resolution for 2015 😉

Okay, onto some wonderful written words by E. Lockhart – We Were Liars.

This book took me by surprise with it’s depth and emotion. I shouldn’t have beens so surprised; I read The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks(here’s the blog/review) not too long ago, and loved it. But in We Were Liars, E. Lockhart pushed her YA envelope, making me, a middle-aged (if I have to label myself) momma, feel the feels in a very raw, real way. I lived every emotion, and I was wrung out (in a good way) by the end of the book.

The Sinclairs are American Royalty. Beautiful, privileged, entitled. The Liars are the grandchildren of patriarch Harris Sinclair, eldest children of his three daughters and one sort of step-cousin. The story is told by Cadence Sinclair Eastman, looking back after a mysterious accident during her 15th summer on the island, an accident that severely injured Cadence and wreaked havoc on her memory.

The reader meets Cadence two summers later as she is trying to remember exactly what happened, trying to piece that summer back together with the help of her fellow Liars.

Lockhart’s story is a young adult mystery that transcends to an older audience superbly (I’m well past the YA status). It’s also great for an older teen, around high school age (pretty sure this is the intended audience).

Thank you, E. Lockhart, for this wonderful story. This is definitely on my ‘suggest to friends’ list.



I love to read; writing is my outlet. My blog is my way to combine the two, with a some life stories thrown in for good measure.

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