Book Review: Necessary Lies by Diane Chamberlain

Necessary LiesNecessary Lies by Diane Chamberlain
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Necessary Lies is a good book club book (which is why i read it) because it presents lots of meaty issues to chew on: whether having children is an inalienable right, the limitations of social services, and the possibility or impossibility of escaping entrenched poverty. Unfortunately, Chamberlain explores these issues in a rather Oprah-ish fashion. However, the book does move along at a brisk clip. Except for the simmering-with-rage Eli, the “poor folks” characters were all cut from the same cloth. Jane, the naive young social worker who tries to save her clients, was more nuanced and believable. She’s thrown into a world she knows nothing about at a very young age, so it’s no wonder she causes more damage than she fixes. I would have liked to have seen more about the unraveling of her marriage. She starts off madly in love with her new husband, but completely loses interest in him once she begins her job. My biggest problem was with the last chapter, which attempts to fill in everything that happens to the characters after the climax of the novel. I found the uplifting, happy endings experienced by most of the characters to be extremely unrealistic and unlikely given the circumstances in which we last saw them. The author just waves a wand over them and solves everything they’ve been struggling with. I know many readers like to have all the loose ends tied up, but I would have been happier with more left to the imagination.

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