Lie by Caroline Bock
Sept. 2011, St. Martin’s/Griffin
Recommend for readers looking for an answer for “How does it happen?” will find a portrait of a community that nurtures the conditions for murderous hate crimes. A community that is, in fact, completely ordinary. It isn’t the murder itself that the community struggles with. It’s that the culprit is caught and held accountable; the attack would not have shaken this community if no one had been arrested.
Diverse content: Carmen assigned this book because (I imagine) it deals with a hate crime. Most of the POV characters are white, but one of the victims and his mother do have a number of chapters, and they are El Salvadoran immigrants. SPOILER ALERT the crime is ultimately committed due to homophobia, though there aren’t any out gay characters.
Study this for the use of multiple POVs. There are so many POVs in LIE because we need all of them to clearly see that the whole community is culpable. Every white person ignores the racism until it reaches its conclusion in the arrest of a golden-boy for murder. We generally like to think in terms of the villain as being extraordinary; we like to personify evil into one or a few characters. They are different from us enough that we do not feel implicated in their crimes. Here, it’s the entire web of community that is to blame, that is racist (either actively or apathetically). Bock succeeds in showing that, but it is a grim read. It is painfully realistic.