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Book Talk: Lockhart, 'Family of Liars'

E. Lockhart is a pseudonym for Emily Jenkins, who has written numerous books under either name. Her YA novels, suitable for adults of any age, center on the angst experienced by young adults of privileged families. It makes sense that she would have insight into their lifestyles, based on her educational background. Ms. Jenkins grew up in Cambridge, MA, and Seattle, WA, where she attended Lakeside School, a private high school. She also attended summer drama schools at Northwestern University and Children’s Theater Company in Minneapolis. She received her college degrees as Vassar and earned her doctorate in English literature at Columbia University, one of the eight Ivy League colleges.

About a month ago, I review her novel, “We Were Liars,” about the ultra-wealthy Sinclair family and their summer on their own island off the coast of Massachusetts. The novel was intriguing and quite different from most books that I’ve read. So, I bought the prequel, “Family of Liars” (2022, 298 pages), which was written eight years later.

This book centers on the generation that preceded the young adults who were featured in We Were Liars. Fortunately, the author provides us with the relevant section of the Sinclair family tree. We can see that Harris and Tipper Sinclair are the grandparents of Will, Cadi, and Mirren, who were the protagonists in the earlier novel. Much of the story involves the interaction between Tipper and her daughter Carrie (Caroline), who was one of the three “Aunties” in the sequel. Confusing? A bit, but the lineage (largely unimportant to those of us born into “unprivileged” families) is very important to the nation’s “old money” class.


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