Needing to reconnect with the baby she gave up for adoption years earlier, an Ivy League-educated Black engineer uncovers devastating family secrets before her bond with a young white misfit scandalizes her racially torn community.
It takes tremendous talent to seamlessly combine social commentary with a powder keg of a plot, and Nancy Johnson accomplishes just that in her gripping debut novel, The Kindest Lie, addressing issues of race, class, privilege and upward mobility ... Don’t miss this powerful debut.
... a remarkable, thought-provoking, and brilliantly written book that delves into race relations, family ties, unconditional love, and what it means to be Black in America ... Peering into poverty, injustice, family ties, and wholehearted love, Johnson's book will open your eyes to what it means to live the American Dream.
... a layered, complex exploration of race and class ... Johnson is particularly adept at drawing the dividing lines between African Americans and working-class Whites, while at the same time illuminating the things they share, including a struggle to survive amid layoffs and a dearth of opportunity in the economically devastated industrial Midwest ... The intersecting lives of Blacks and Whites — and their divergent understanding of each other — are rendered with care ... While Johnson notes his dismay and the strain on their marriage in the early part of the narrative, Ruth’s relationship with her husband is not examined in sufficient depth as the novel unfolds. The reader is left to wonder what truly binds the couple together. Additionally, there is a sort of no-questions-asked oddness during Ruth’s reappearance at home in Indiana after so many years away. One would expect the writer to take a bit more time to deal with the emotions surrounding that surprise return ... But these quibbles do not take away from the overall narrative. It is a tale of how lies and omissions can shape and warp us. It is a story about reconciliation, set against a backdrop of racism and resentments. But more than anything, it is a meditation on family and forgiveness.