Black Crow White Lie

Candi Sary
Casperian Books (2012)
ISBN 9781934081372
Reviewed by Paige Lovitt for Reader Views (10/12)

Article first published as Book Review: Black Crow White Lie by Candi Sary on Blogcritics.

“Black Crow White Lie” by Candi Sari is the story of Carson Calley, a thirteen-year-old teenager with an incredible gift for healing.  Because of his mother’s choices and her alcoholism, his life has been very difficult.  Growing up while living out of hotels with his mom does not make for a happy childhood.  As a result of her alcoholism, his mother would often take off and leave him alone, sometimes for days. Stuck on a married man who has shown no interest in Carson, his mother has mostly left him to raise himself.  Relying on Carson to heal her headaches after a drinking binge, his mother has nothing to offer him except and incredible story about his father whom he believes died a war hero.

Carson makes two adult friends who help guide him. One owns a tattoo parlor and the other owns a head shop. While they don’t sound like they would be good for him, these two people are kind at heart. They offer Carson an escape from his loneliness and a place to hang out outside of the hotel.  When Carson’s mom hires a mentor to guide him with his healing, one of his friends offers him a place in his shop to work on building a healing practice. Soon known as the “Hollywood Healer,” Carson becomes well known because of his success in healing.  Carson’s tattoo artist friend gives him a tattoo of a black crow to help remind him of his father.

Based upon lies that his mother has told him, Carson plans to go to Washington, DC to find his father’s grave.  He will not let anything get in the way of this goal.  While he is working towards accomplishing this, he is also dealing with issues involved with being destructive when he is intensely angry.  He doesn’t understand how he is capable of both healing and destroying things with his hands.  As things start spiraling downhill for his mom, the truth begins emerging.  Carson is devastated that she has told him so many lies. Slowly he begins to understand the truth behind why she did so.

I loved this story. Even though it is written about a thirteen-year-old, Carson seems to have an old soul, so adults will not find this story too juvenile. In spite of the harshness of his upbringing, Carson also has a naiveté about him that is refreshing.  He is a good person, and strives to do better for himself.  Teens and adults will understand and relate to his issues.  Adding quirkiness to the story with Carson’s eccentric friends makes it even more enjoyable.  Seeing forgiveness and understanding through the eyes of a child is very moving and educating. I learned a great lesson about truth from this book by Candi Sary.  I cannot do “Black Crow White Lie,” enough justice; you have to read the story to really appreciate it.

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