Archive for the ‘Reviews’ Category

Just finished reading Why We Lie. I was compelled to have a read having lied compulsively and creatively throughout most of my childhood. I was thrilled at the idea that someone had written about the connection between lying and childhood experience. Like most people, I wanted something explained, and preferably to have the responsibility laid at the feet of others.

There are some wonderful answers here, particularly her understanding and explanation of the importance of lying in the defence of our own personhood. These are the lies we tell because our sense of ourselves is fragile, and facing a truth about our behaviour that would require readjusting our sense of who we are can feel life threatening. Some lies then, are defences against a toxic feeling of shame.

Rowe also does a beautiful job of explaining some difficult neuropsychological concepts, especially those related to perception and how each of us constructs the world we encounter. This is one of the great strengths of Rowe’s writing. It is as clear as humanly possible. She does not use three words when two will do, and she is ethically opposed to jargon.

Tying in the twin international lies of the GFC and climate change denial, Rowe also puts lying into historical context, and explores the history of both lies, all the while linking each one to its owner and their personhood.

My only quibble really is the tone she uses. While she is clear, determined and interesting, she is also judgmental. She often comes across as an expert on the experience of others, and this separates her both from her subjects and from the reader. I felt alternately righteous and judged as the reader.

But I believe this better-than comes from a good place. Rowe is appalled by the lies that have literally been deadly, and by the obfuscation practiced by those whose job it should be to find and promote the truth.


Read Full Post »

Older Posts »