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Reviewed by Anne-Marie Reynolds for Readers' Favorite
School Lies by Santiago Andrea Arciniegas Gomez is a nonfiction story told mostly through photographs. Arciniegas details his life at school, the weirdness, the lies, the bullying, everything that shaped him throughout his school years and beyond. He had friends. He told the same lies that all kids tell. He went on the same holidays. And then it all ended. Why? Because he came out. In a Catholic school for boys. Everything Arciniegas experienced at that school has stayed with him throughout his life, through a long period of depression. The idea behind the book was for Arciniegas to change; to go back to those days and confront the demons that still haunted him. This is a self-portrait of who Arciniegas was and who he has become.
School Lies is a very unusual book. When I first started it, I found the whole thing very weird and off-putting but, once you start to see the photos through his eyes, as if he were seeing himself again in his school days, it all starts to make sense. In truth, this is a powerful book, with some strong images in it. Those images and the little bit of writing that goes with them give us an insight into Arciniegas and what he saw himself as going through at that school; they detail the torment and the pain, the good days and the bad. I understand that English is not his first language but the book could benefit from a little editing; there are a few spelling mistakes and some misplaced punctuation. Interesting book, and my favorite quote from it, one that is so very true, is: “Misery is seeing it all.”