The Lie and How We Told It is a graphic novel about the convergence of societal expectations, sexuality, and the person in the mirror. Two high school friends, Tim and Cleary, meet by chance at a grocery store where Cleary works. After she gets off, they go for lunch and then drinks at a bar. After lunch, they make their way to a liquor store to get more wine. Cleary finds a book and reads it as she waits for Tim… The story in the book breaks up the narrative along with a series of flashbacks.
Two stories: old friends speaking about past relationships and a found book about an affair between an erotic dancer and a customer. Each have secrets regarding their base desires and cover them up in ways that may be unhealthy. It’s realistic and startling how affecting this simple narrative is on exposing some real truths.
Parrish’s art is an interesting mixture of flat painted figures for the main story and line drawings for the story within the story. This break up in style separates the two narratives, but the stories juxtapose well. I found the dialogue to be authentic and convincing. The work exposes the vulnerability and many people’s need to compartmentalize their feelings and desires. A justification of the lies people tell themselves.
This is a powerfully contemplative work that can be read as a telling example of what people do to justify actions to themselves.