The Truth and Lies of Ella Black by Emily Barr #BookReview

I had never read this author till I read the blurb in one of Penguin’s newsletters.  And the blurb pulled me right in.  I am grateful to Penguin who provided me a reader’s copy.   So, here is the blurb.


I call her Bella because she is the dark side of me. Its’ Ella but not. Its Bad Ella. Bella. I thought of that a few years ago and it made it a bit better because before that I called it’s the Monster. Anything is a tiny bit better when it has a name.

Bella is better than the Monster.

Bella is desperate to own the whole of me: I am alert and battling all the time. Sometimes, I have to let her out before everything explodes, but after that happens I feel calm and peaceful and, I think, kind of happy.

I liked .. 

The blurb held good promise.  I thought of it to be a novel of psychoanalysis with insights into schizophrenia.  The girl Ella is a seventeen year old school living a normal life in UK.  Everything is picture perfect.  But,  the initial chapters tell us that it is not so.  Ella she has a dark side to her which she keeps hidden from all.  She has her alter ego Bella in her head who threatens her and forces her to do bad things.  So far so good.  The real story starts when her parents whiz her away from school to leave their life behind and to start a new life in Brazil that things change.  Ella, is a typical teenager, rebellious and attracted to the unknown.  When her parents try to protect her from an unknown evil,  she rebels.  She escapes into the night with some teenagers she meets at the hotel she stays and has loads of fun.  She feels her parents do not trust her.  They are over protective.  And never let her be alone.

Its when she knows the real reason why they want to protect her,  that she runs away fro m her parents.   For the first time in her life,  Ella finds herself living alone on the streets with no money.   This is in complete contrast to the life of privilege she is used to.. The book further shows how she survives living in the favelas / slums of Brazil so that she can hide from her parents.  She makes some glaring mistakes as she is not practical.  This is something I see in the current generation of kids  They know the internet,  the mobile phones and computers.  They sound very confident when you ask them something.  But, when it comes to life skills,  I see them lacking.  It was a good reflection on the generation now.

I did not like..

  • that Ella fell in love with the perfect guy.  It absolutely defies logic that she falls in love with a boy at first sight and he is such a perfect boyfriend.  No,  it may happen in some romance.  But,  they also have flawed and humane characters.  But, this guy is God.  No.  I do not take it.
  • The end.  The story started off at high steam..  It kept it up with its twists and turns.  But,  the end becomes just mundane.  A bit more of thrill would have made this perfect.

Overall, its a good book but do not expect it to me a memorable one.

4 Comments Add yours

  1. I like how you point out the pros and the cons, Lata. Excellent review!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Great post, I really enjoyed reading your thoughts! Tomorrow I’m publishing an interview with Emily Barr on my blog- it’s well worth a read as she has some fantastic things to say 🙂


  3. Oh, I was excited because I love stories like this, until I read what you don’t like, Lata.


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