I Meant to Tell You, a review by Sherry

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I Meant to Tell You
Fran Hawthorne

263 pages
Stephen F Austin State University Press
published March 29, 2023

Amazon | Goodreads

What a thought provoking book.  When our main character Miranda withholds one truth, all the secrets that come to surface in her life.  We all keep things to ourselves, but at what point is a secret a lie and when does it go from a white lie to whopper?  At what point do these lies become our truths and stop being lies to us?

Frannie has a moment with a stranger and this passage gave me pause.  “How many (lies) do you tell over a lifetime?  Scores of little white ones, but the whoppers?  Probably no more than one or two.  And they are so big and outrageous that that no one would dream you are capable of something like that, so there’s no suspicions, no confrontation.  It’s those scores of little lies that you can’t keep track of, week after week, that erode your relationships.”  Wow, is that ever the truth.  I am sure this will come to mind the next time a white lie pops out of my mouth.

When it came down to it, I am not sure I liked any of the characters.  They were all quite judgey and hypocritical as they judged each other while still holding fast to their secrets. But without all that, you don’t have the book.

This one could spark a great book club debate without ever asking a question about specific secrets.  It really does have me thinking about the lies I hear and the secrets I keep.

About the book

When Miranda Isaacs’s fiancé, Russ Steinmann, is being vetted for his dream job in the U.S. attorney’s office, the couple joke about whether Miranda’s parents’ history as antiwar activists in the Sixties might jeopardize Russ’s security clearance. But as it turns out, the real threat emerges after Russ’s future employer discovers that Miranda was arrested for felony kidnapping seven years earlier – an arrest she’d never bothered to tell Russ about.

Miranda tries to explain that she was only helping her best friend, Ronit, in the midst of a nasty divorce and custody battle, take her daughter to visit her parents in Israel. Russ doesn’t see it quite as innocently. In a frantic search to persuade Russ that she’s not a criminal, Miranda either makes the situation worse or exposes other secrets and mysteries. Miranda’s stepfather – who has just revealed to her mother that he’s been having an affair—starts dropping cryptic hints about her biological father. On top of all that, Miranda is arrested again, this time for drunk driving.

With everything she thought she knew upended, Miranda must face the truth about her mother, herself, and her future marriage.


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