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The Terrible Truth and the Wonderful Lie

Oh damn you, Bio Girl, you and your book recommendations.  I finally got to check I’ll Give You the Sun out of the library and spent a weepy week with it.  It’s a good book.  You can see the twists coming from many miles away but that doesn’t make the book any less enjoyable.

The book is about twins who are best friends at 13 and not speaking by 16, and you learn what drove them apart.  I got the sense that the author both knew twins and that she has never spent real time with twins.  These twins were like the John Green equivalent of twins.  You know how John Green teenagers both act like teenagers and nothing like teenagers at the same time?  These twins were like twins and nothing like twins at the same time.

And that is not a criticism.  If I want real twins, I can walk into the kitchen.  If I want real teenagers, I can call my niece.  Most of the time, when I am turning to a book, I don’t want reality reflected back at me perfectly.  I want a little hyperbole so I can notice things in my own life.

Anyway, a small fear I have — in the back of my heart — is that my twins will one day grow apart.  I believe it is possible and I don’t believe it is possible.  They have always been each other’s best friend, and that continues to this day even as they gravitate towards people outside the family.  But I also know that relationships change.  They wax and wane.  Maybe one day they will grow apart.  Or maybe they won’t.  In any case, I told them the plot line, they collectively rolled their eyes and informed me that they would never destroy their relationship and did I know fact from fiction, Mum?

Um… yes.  I was just checking.

I’m a little sensitive with twin-themed books.

Anyway, there were three passages I noted in the book that I will turn over to you for discussion.  None of three actually require you to read the book.  They’re just questions the text raised inside my brain.  The first and third sort of loop together, but I think I’ll ask these questions separately so I can see how I want to phrase the last one after I see the answers to the first.

So here’s the first question:

Would you rather unknowingly have your life be a terrible truth or a wonderful lie?  Meaning, you would never know that your life was a lie; there would be no horrible moment of knowledge.  So with that fact in mind, would you rather unknowingly have your life be a terrible truth or a wonderful lie?


1 Mina { 08.19.15 at 8:49 am }

Hmm… If it is a wonderful lie, and I never find out it is a lie, then that lie for me is real, hence my truth. Does it matter that my truth is different from other people’s truth or reality? When I am dead, I am dead and nothing else matters. If that lie made me a whole lot better and happier, then I would take a never-ending wonderful lie over a miserable, terrible truth.
Going even further, I think that I would prefer to live a wonderful lie, even if in the end I would die because I find out the horrible truth. Happiness is subjective, and remains true for the happy subject, even if it is based on a lie. It does end when the truth comes out, but no one can deny its existence. The head knows the truth, but the heart feels its miserableness so much worse. So, as corny as it sounds, for me, the head is very important, but the heart always wins.

2 Sarah { 08.19.15 at 9:28 am }

Ah, I wondered if you ever read this! Man, this book killed me. I agree you see things coming early on, but still, something about for it for me was just great.

I love your comparison of these twins to John Green’s teens. Totally agree! Another book with twins that I really enjoyed was Fangirl, BTW 🙂

As for your question, while I feel like the “right” answer should be to want to know the truth no matter how terrible, I would honestly say that I would rather live the beautiful lie. Actually, after all the twists and turns I have had over the last few years, a large part of me would rather live the beautiful lie as long as possible, even knowing there WILL be the great heartbreaking reveal where I learn the truth in the end. Maybe in choosing to live the lie, the learning of the truth eventually is even key for me… I don’t know. Like that never knowing the truth is what makes the lie the harder choice… which is maybe exactly what you are getting at 🙂 It’s an interesting question.

3 Mina { 08.19.15 at 9:28 am }

I’ve thought of an exception to my comment above: if the wonderful lie does harm to anyone, including me, I would not chose it. I would rather know if I am married to my brother, even if we are a perfect match, and have a wonderful life together, because that lie would be harmful to everyone. But if I am living with a wonderful man who cheats on me, and I never find out about it, and my life is perfect and wonderful, than I would rather live the lie, than murder the poor sod who thought would get away with cheating.

4 illustr8d { 08.19.15 at 9:52 am }

If we take away the adjectives, we get to the meat of the question, as a grade school teacher was fond of telling us way back then. The question is: do you want your life to be the truth or a lie? The adjectives simply ask what price you’re willing to pay.

5 illustr8d { 08.19.15 at 4:05 pm }

ps: I suspect I’ve come off as a giant ass, but I’ve been doing terrible & true for a bit …. and there were times when I would have made the trade gladly.

6 illustr8d { 08.19.15 at 4:06 pm }

ps: I suspect I’ve come off as a giant ass, but I’ve been doing terrible & true for a bit …. and there were times when I would have made the trade gladly. Just knew I couldn’t, despite the costs.

7 Cristy { 08.19.15 at 4:53 pm }

Mina covered all my thoughts beautifully.

And I have the same fear with the Beats. I am estranged from my younger sister, but we were never really close and are very different people. Still, I see how close my twins are and hope that bond will remain.

8 Lori Lavender Luz { 08.19.15 at 6:32 pm }

I feel like I *should* pick truth, in whatever form, but I won’t. I’d pick a wonderful lie, with the logic Mina states.

9 Peg { 08.19.15 at 8:43 pm }

I think I’d go with the truth. I have a lot of liars in my life and it’s very frustrating and difficult on our relationship. I’d rather live in a truthful reality I guess than have rose colored glasses all the time.

10 Mali { 08.20.15 at 12:25 am }

My best friend is a twin. She and her sister lived in different parts of the world for a long time, due to travel for careers, then marriage etc. They’re now both living in the same small town. I was talking to her just a week or so ago about being a twin (having also read a book about twins that had sparked thoughts about my twin nieces), and she reminded me that for a twin, the most important person in the world is always the other twin. It’s fundamentally different from being a singleton, and authors and teachers and psychologists don’t always understand that.

Anyway, back to your question. I don’t like being fooled, so I’m leaning towards the truth. But then, if I would never know I had been deceived, the wonderful lie would be a happier life. It’s a bit like the growth from infertility isn’t it? Would I rather I was unchanged, but had never been through infertility and loss? Or would I willingly go through what I’ve endured these last 15 years, simply for the personal growth and contentment and confidence I have now? That’s an impossible question …

11 Vinitha { 08.20.15 at 5:21 am }

I opt for the wonderful lie, after all it is wonderful! 🙂

12 Ana { 08.20.15 at 10:16 am }

Agree with Mina. If I didn’t know, and would never know, wouldn’t the “lie” actually be MY truth? As long as it didn’t hurt anyone else I would go with blissful ignorance.

13 Amel { 08.30.15 at 7:30 am }

This one is very tricky. On the one hand, ignorance is bliss, but on the other hand, there’s a part of me that wants to know the truth. After mulling it over, I think I’d choose the terrible truth if I only had to choose one. Why? Because when you hit rock bottom like that, the only way to go is up. That said, though, ideally I’d like a balance of the two: the lies and the truth (some truths I can do without, some I prefer to know).

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