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The Lie    by O. H. Bennett order for
by O. H. Bennett
Order:  USA  Can
Algonquin, 2009 (2009)

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* *   Reviewed by Bob Walch

Afraid to face his family after accidentally shooting and killing his brother, Terrell Matheus makes a decision that will have everlasting repercussions. Terrified at what he has done, Terrell blames his older brother's death on a truck full of white boys, not thinking he is about to unleash pent up feelings of anger and hate that have simmered for some time.

With his uncle swearing vengeance and the black community mobilized behind him and his family, Terrell quickly realizes he has created a volatile and dangerous situation. Finally, the boy comes to terms with what he has done and the incalculable pain it has caused his family.

Admitting what happened, Terrell is not sent to jail, but he finds himself shunned by former friends and forced to live away from his parents. Ironically, it is his dead brother's girlfriend who shows Terrell compassion and understanding when everyone else in his community turns their back on him.

A powerful coming of age novel that explores family, race and the price of honesty, this unforgettable story illustrates how bad decision making and human weakness can turn one tragedy into an even bigger one. As Terrell comes to terms with the consequences of his actions, he learns a poignant lesson about redemption and the fact that it comes at a high personal cost.

A sensitive writer with a strong sense of family and place, O. H. Bennett has the ability to create plausible characters who demand our attention. They make mistakes, serious mistakes, and struggle big time with the consequence of their misguided actions, but eventually they rise above the mayhem. Isn't this what being a human being is all about?

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