What I Saw and How I Lied
The main character, Evie Spooner, changes a great deal throughout the text. Her personality takes a complete 360 by the end of the book. At the beginning, she was set on being exactly like her mother. Evie admired her mother's beauty, class, and strength and was almost jealous of her. She wanted to be the exact image of her, which was what everyone else wanted from her as well. After many events happened throughout the book, such as her boyfriend dying, her mother having an affair with him, and her parents being on trial for murder, Evie changed her entire way of thinking. The author shows this by comparing her thoughts at the beginning of the book to the end. She realizes her mother is not the woman she thought she was and says, "I would love my mother, but I would never want to be her again" (Blundell 280). She also says that she would be who she wanted to be and not what people to be. While these events in her life were tragic, Evie discovered who she really was as a person. Overall, Evie's character changed tremendously over the course of the book.
The setting has a huge impact on the story, and it shows over the entire book. The setting is the one thing that really shapes the book. The family decides to go to Palm Beach, Florida for a vacation, a last minute get away to finish out the summer. When they get there, the place is empty because people only visit in the winter, and it is the end of summer. Evie's mother reacts by saying, "Is this Palm Beach or a ghost town" (Blundell 31)? The place originally is Evie's heaven because she can adventure and even hang out with an older boy. Peter is this older boy and the two become close. Peter and Evie's parents are on the boat together when a hurricane hits and from there, everything is downhill. This place that was once her safe haven becomes her nightmare. The author shows how Palm Beach changes for Evie before and after the accident. Now it is a constant reminder of all the tragedy that has happened. As can be seen, the setting's impact on the story is crucial.
The overall theme of this book is betrayal. There are multiple occurrences of this ongoing theme in this novel. The first time readers see this is when Beverly, Evie's mother, has an affair with Evie's boyfriend. Evie discovers the only reason Peter was going out with her was to be with her mother. The next time is when Joe, Evie's stepfather, refuses to give Peter his part in the money deal they made during the war. Peter's determination to get the money he earned is what ultimately caused his death. The last instance of betrayal is when Evie lies in court to save her parents. After all they have done to her, she lies to the court to save her parents. Peter never gets justice for what really happens to him, thanks to Evie. Joe convinces her to say that because he says things can go back to the way they were "... If we can all stick together here. Okay? If we can just be smart now. If we can just stick" (Blundell 223). The repeating theme of betrayal is what keeps this book going.