Book Reviews

The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly – Stephanie Oakes // Review

25248094The story of Minnow Bly is not one I will easily forget. I honestly cannot believe this is the work of a debut author as her writing is incredible:

“Every stranger is still a thrill, having gone so many years never knowing anyone but the same hundred wind-burned souls.” (pg. 18).

This book reminded me a lot of All the Truth That’s in Me or The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender. It’s agonising to read because you just want to prevent this terrible damage that has already happened by the time you start the book but it’s written in such a compelling way that you are totally immersed in this world and the events unfolding.

The story is told by 17 year old Minnow Bly, who is serving a sentence at a juvenile detention centre, as she reflects back on her crime, her past, the shifting landscape of her world and her idea of the universe. It’s intelligent, thought provoking and ethically challenging in the best way. I loved Minnow as a character because despite having terrible things happen to her, she wasn’t a victim. She was this completely three dimensional character who was ballsy, brave and smart mouthed… she was constantly surprising me and had a very unique voice. She makes hard choices and acts with conviction and has to rapidly assemble some kind of semblance of meaning from the world after being so thoroughly shut off from it for over a decade.

I struggled a little with the ambiguous ending. I liked that it wasn’t tied up in a neat little bow. It felt authentic and right… but at the same time I wanted peace and resolution for some of the key characters who were just so damaged.

Definitely one of the best books I’ve read in a while!

5 out of 5 stars

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