There are just some books that deserve a soundtrack playing in the background. What I Saw and How I Lied by Judy Blundell is a prime example. I could hear theme music to some of my favorite television shows as I read.
Our heroine, Evie Spooner, lives an idyllic life in Queens. A small group of friends surround her and her mother and recently returned from the second war father are happy together. Unfortunately, she is a sweet sixteen who has never been kissed. Her mother keeps her dressed in pastel shirt dresses and saddle shoes. Leave it to Beaver is the theme song that plays while we follow her easy-go-lucky existence.
Conflict arises when her step-father, Joe Spooner, is hounded by mysterious phone calls from an old army buddy. In the short time Joe has been back from the war, his appliance business has become successful. He now has three stores and is about to add two more. Tactlessly, these calls really start to bring out his bad side. I hear Dragnet.
In an attempt to dodge this phone pursuer, Joe takes the family on a road trip to Florida. At the beginning of the trip, everyone is happy and playing the license plate game. Cue the Andy Griffith whistle. But, as they get deeper in the south, the sweaters come off and the uncomfortable sweat begins to flow down their stuck-to-the-car-seat backs and legs. Bluesy, In the Heat of the Night, sends you the rest of the way down to the Florida state line.
Can you guess the theme music for finding their hotel in Palm Beach? Miami Vice drums and soars as their spirits start to lift. Unfortunately, they are there in the off season and most the homes and businesses are boarded up for hurricane season. Evie is alone to bathe at the pool and walk on the beach without friends.
That is, until she meets “movie-star handsome Peter Coleridge.” Don’t laugh, but Rockford Files is playing in the background. As the two seem to hit it off, Evie’s mom, Beverly, decides to act as the chaperon on drives around town and shopping in West Palm Beach. Beverly is a knockout with dark hair, blue eyes, light tan, and slender figure.
Beverly is such a looker that Joe starts to become wary of Peter and the attention she is giving him. Jealousy is a bad trait in any mate, but has Joe gone too far? Perry Mason kicks off the next scene as Evie sits in court discerning the facts that point to both Joe and Beverly.What I Saw and How I Lied won the National Book Award in 2008 for Young People’s Literature. I found it to be a slow starter, but well worth my eyes and ears.