Book Review: True Colors, by Kristin Hannah

True Colors was one of those booked I carried around everywhere so I could sneak in a chapter whenever I had a spare minute, and I couldn’t wait to get home and sit in my rocking chair on the porch with it.

Vivi Ann started out a little frustrating, probably because of the way we saw her through Winona’s eyes. The way she used Luke to restore her reputation was pretty despicable. But her struggle was very compelling and her relationship with hope and belief relatable. It’s always interesting to read about how people deal with various kinds of grief. It was hard to see her go down such a heartbreaking path, particularly when it was to her son’s detriment.

It was also interesting to see Winona’s evolution. I was rooting for her in the beginning – who doesn’t identify with being jealous of someone who always gets what they want, particularly when you loathe yourself?  And how could she not have low self-esteem with a father who was always so cold to her? It drove me crazy that she wouldn’t tell Vivi that she was in love with Luke. I don’t think that would have landed her Luke, but I think it would have stopped the growing hatred toward her sister. Although this isn’t really spelled out, I think it wasn’t just her jealousy of Vivi but also a prejudice against Dallas because of the color of his skin. Just saying! I love how the roles reversed at the end, with Winona becoming the driving force of hope when Vivi needed it.

I had some problems with the dialogue (at times a little cheesy/cliché, and if I had to read “We’re sisters” one more time I was going to throw the book), but the plotting was practically flawless. Hannah did an amazing job of holding the tension. I spent much of the time trying to decide whether he was a good guy or a bad one. His rough edges were understandable considering all that he had to endure  – a tragic childhood, constant racism, a clear vibe from Vivi’s family that he was unwelcome. But I also felt like he was a little possessive, and we didn’t get to see a lot of good qualities beyond that he was sexy. That made it all the more interesting to read! I had no idea where the book was going, and couldn’t figure out how it was going to end until about 50 pages from the end. The ending itself was also lovely, very satisfying.

I do wish we had heard from Aurora’s perspective, but I understood as the story went on that it was really the tale of two sisters (Winona and Vivi Ann) navigating envy, disappointment, betrayal, distrust, and abandonment. And I wish the father’s story was a little more three-dimensional. We knew he was “an asshole,” as Vivi figures out at the end, but I was a little confused when Vivi had the epiphany. She remembered the image of him crying at his dead wife’s bedside, and then realized that he wasn’t crying for the reason that she thought. I didn’t really understand what that meant, and I feel like if I had understood it that story would have felt more tied up. Up until that point, I was waiting to find out why he was so much harder on Winona than he was on the other two girls, and that then threw me for a loop.

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