Why I Lived a Lie


Why I lived a lie. . .an open apology to Ron Rash

By Allison Lee

First, let me say that my offense was unintentional and seemed unavoidable at the time. It was a dark and stormy night, or at least a dark and stormy time of my life, and I just could not read a book without a happy ending.  I wasn’t at the place emotionally to grasp that a plot full of turmoil and characters of questionable moral fiber could still be beautifully written and come to a satisfying conclusion, so I lied.  Well, no, that’s not really true, I didn’t outright lie, I avoided the truth. . .okay,  I ran from it.  

Everyone read the book.  The author came and read from the book.  Everyone was talking about the book. Almost overnight, it became THE BOOK.   I couldn’t read it.  I just couldn’t.  Everyone said it was dark, and I already felt dark.  So, when asked if I had read it, I said it was dark.  That wasn’t a lie, EVERYONE said it was dark, and that’s all I said.  I was careful to never actually say that I knew because I read it, only that I knew it.

And maybe that would have all been okay.  The book could have quickly faded into the background, but it didn’t.  It really was THE BOOK.  In so many ways, it is still THE BOOK.  The years have passed and books have come and gone, but people are still reading, people are still buying, people are still talking about, people are still asking questions about THE BOOK. So, for years, I’ve smiled and said, “It’s dark.” People make assumptions. They do it all the time.  

Over the years I’ve sold almost 500 copies of THE BOOK.  I’ve meet the author numerous times, introduced him even, to a crowd of people, most all of whom had read THE BOOK, and couldn’t wait to read the others he’d written.  And let me clarify, I’ve read the novels he’s written before and after THE BOOK. He’s good.  I am a fan.

So, when we decided to sell used books and a copy of THE BOOK came in, I knew it was time.  It was a sign.  I never even put it on the shelf. It went straight home to my nightstand.  And there it sat.   The book had taken on such an air of mystery; it was illusive tale that I had forbidden myself to hear.  Then one night I was brave.  I was happy with myself and I knew I could take it on. I read the book.  I loved the book, but I hate Serena.

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