Online Book Club: The Truth According to Us, Part 1 5


Today is the day! It’s time to kick off the online book club. For today’s questions, please only discuss parts from Chapters 1-28. If you have finished the book already, please don’t give out any spoilers. We’ll discuss the entire book on Wednesday, Jan. 25.

You can discuss the questions in the comments section below on the blog or join us on Facebook.

Thanks for joining us! I’ll post details about February’s book next week!

Please only comment up to the end of Chapter 28.

  1. What are your thoughts on the book so far?
  2. Do you like the letters or do you find them distracting?
  3. Who are your favorite and least favorite characters and why?
  4. The point of view changes between Jottie, Layla and Willa. Do you find this distracting or does it help your understanding of the plot?
  5. What do you think about Felix and Jottie’s relationship?
  6. The Truth According to Us is set in a small town where everyone seems to know everyone else. Have you ever lived in a situation like that? Would you find living in Macedonia appealing or stifling? With our multiple forms of instantaneous communication, it could be said that the entire world has become a small town. Do you agree? Do you think we live in a more or less anonymous world now? (This question is from the publisher.)
  7. What do you think will happen in the last half of the book?

About Sarah Anne Carter

Sarah Anne Carter is a writer and reader. She grew up all over the world as a military brat and is now putting down roots with her family in Ohio. Family life keeps her busy, but any spare moment is spent reading, writing or thinking about plots for novels.


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5 thoughts on “Online Book Club: The Truth According to Us, Part 1

  • Sarah Anne

    I’ll start with a response to Q3:
    The changing points of view are my least favorite part of the book so far because the changes happen without warning. Usually books change by chapter and let you know that the point of view is changing. It takes me a minute each time to figure out who is talking.

    • Kari Taylor

      1. I’ll withhold my thoughts on the book until the final discussion since I’ve already finished reading the book.
      2. I do like the letters. Although I’m not sure if that’s because I think they enhance this particular book, or if it’s because I was so enamored with the format of Guernsey Literary and this reminded me of that. I don’t think the letters in Truth worked in the same magical way.
      3. There were things about all of the characters that irked me, but I was frustrated by the way the children were written, particularly Bird. I kept feeling like I couldn’t tell if she was supposed to be mentally challenged because of how the other characters spoke and thought about her. My kids and I adore Barrow’s Ivy and Bean series. I cannot figure how an author who has written such compelling child characters in other series has written such stiff child characters in this book. Perhaps because she’s just a minor character? I think Emmett is my favorite character. He seems to be the most independent of his dysfunctional family.
      4. The shifting point of view isn’t my favorite. I agree that it’s more tolerable when the shift happens at chapter breaks. On top of this, there doesn’t seem to be a consistent first person, third person limited, or third person omniscient throughout the book either. This makes the shifting perspectives more confusing.
      5. Withholding until final discussion.
      6. I grew up in the same small town (5,000) that my father grew up in. I had many of the same teachers throughout school. Even so, there were definitely “clicks” that seemed to span generations that our family was on the outside of. So I guess in that respect I can relate to Jottie’s desire to not be on the margins of the community that she is a part of. As far as our online connectivity, I think we are more isolated. It is vastly easier to hid our true selves behind a carefully crafted onlilne persona than it is to truly know and be known by those within our communities, whether online or in person.
      7. Spoilers 😉

      • Sarah Anne Carter Post author

        2. I’m going to re-read Guernsey this month for a book club and to remember why it’s one of my favorites (it’s been several years).
        3. I’m not a fan of Frank, but I have my own guess as to why he acts how he does toward the children. Willa seems to act younger and more naive than what they say her age is.

  • Brenda Carlson

    1 – Jury is still out, although the theme is beginning to come together. Curious about where the author is going. Beginning to see the implications of the title.

    2 – Letters are a unique way to incorporate Layla’s perspective and fill in the back story. A different approach than flashback. They are a little distracting. Guessing they wouldn’t have sent such short letters when stamps are nearly 50 cents!!

    3 – Least favorite is Felix – he feels slimy and deceitful. Willa’s love for her father is understandable – little girls have that love for dads no matter what. So far I like Sol.

    4 – The perspective switch is a little distracting and my brain has to figure out who’s speaking with each change. Maybe because of this, the plot seems slow to develop. Or maybe that’s the point – to really understand the various perspectives, get a feel of the town’s (perceived) story, and learn The Truth According to Us, we need to go slow at first.

    5 – Not sure what he’s all about, but she’s enabling, aiding and abetting, or something. He has a weird power and control over her.

    6 – Yes, I’ve lived in a small town and know people who still live in small communities. As this family feels, there is a comfort in knowing everyone and having them know you. On the other hand, the community becomes closed and closed minded. (Reading Anne of Green Gables – similar community and prejudices and “truths.”) I live in a small neighborhood now. I like knowing people and being connected, but there is a sense of keeping one’s guard up!
    In some ways the world is a small community; on the other hand, in the present day one can choose to be public or anonymous.

    7 – Don’t know how the book will end. Would be nice for Jottie to break free. Concerned that Felix will seduce Layla. Guessing the mystery of the fire will be revealed, somehow or other. Still waiting for the plot to coalesce. Curious about whether the book will actually be completed and in what format.

    • Sarah Anne Carter Post author

      My least favorite is Felix, too, but I think that’s what the author wants at this point. I’d like to see a happy ending for Jottie, too, but I’m not sure she’ll be able to escape Felix in the end. It must be something quite strong holding them together.
      My experience with small communities is growing up on military bases, but that’s only close for a few years at a time and then you move on and get a somewhat clean slate.