Study Guide

The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks Lies and Deceit

By E. Lockhart

Lies and Deceit

"Don't worry," she told him. "I am exceptionally good at keeping secrets." (12.125)

Double meaning alert. Frankie is good at keeping Matthew's secrets, but she's also excellent at keeping her own. We're thinking maybe Matthew should have picked up on a bit of foreshadowing here. But you know what they say about hindsight being 20/20.

Matthew must know she'd been lying when she talked about going to the party with Porter. Because he knew where Porter was going that night. (25.82)

Why would Matthew pretend not to know Porter? There are quite a few lies that Frankie has to investigate when it comes to Matthew. We're beginning to wonder why she remains in a relationship where there's so little trust.

"All right. I can't work myself up about the chess guys. Peter-Porter what's-his-name better be glad he went to bed early, though." Matthew laughed. (26.37)

Again with the pretending not to know Porter's name. Eesh, Matthew is always just lying between those good-looking teeth of his. Is he really such a stand-up guy?

"I have a project for my Cities class," Frankie lied […] She was astonished at how easy it was to invent a plausible answer. (28.19)

Frankie can lie her way out of a situation, too. It's a bit scary how easy it comes to her here. But then again, once you tell one lie, it can require you to tell a bunch more. And if Frankie lies enough, it'll become second nature after awhile.

She should have known this would happen. How had she not foreseen? Alpha was taking credit. (34.33-34)

In order to retain his role as top dog, Alpha pretends that he was the one behind all these pranks after all. Because, you know, he's still got to keep that illusion of control. This lie strikes us as sadder than a lot of the lies that have come before. Alpha is clearly in over his head here, and we know it'll all come crashing down eventually.

It was only the panopticon that was making her feel so paranoid, she said to herself. That, and the guilt of systematically lying to her boyfriend since the day she had first followed him. (36.6)

Even though she justifies it in her head, Frankie still feels kind of bad about lying to Matthew. But we guess he's lying to her as well, so it's all fair game. Wait. That doesn't sound right.

"Matthew and I had an argument," she lied. "We made up, but it was a whole thing." (36.23)

Trish is so kind, but she wouldn't understand Frankie's more transgressive pursuits. She doesn't understand why Frankie has to work so hard to change things when they're okay as they are. So Frankie has to cover up her exploits with yet more lies, all in the name of making things go smoothly with her bestie. Does that seem like a good idea to you? What does she think will happen if she spills the real beans to Trish?

She couldn't ask him about it. If she did, he'd know she'd looked in his backpack. Frankie sunk into her chair, a tangle of guilt and anger—but she didn't say a word. (39.35-37)

What we're interested in here is the lie Frankie's telling by remaining silent. The more she doesn't share her real feelings with her boyfriend, the more she's deceiving him, and the more distant the two grow. Sure, she doesn't want to fess up to the huge secret she's keeping from him, but her swallowing her feelings isn't helping matters either.

It wasn't that he no longer had a secret from her. In fact, Matthew's secret was getting bigger and bigger—and Frankie finally had to admit to herself that he wasn't ever, ever going to tell her. (40.63)

Even though Frankie desperately wants to connect with Matthew over the pranks (because it's a shared activity!), they're both lying to each other about being involved in all the shenanigans in any way. That's quite the catch-22. And check out how lies can reveal a great deal about the liar, too. What Frankie learns from Matthew's secret is that he's not as into her as she hopes he is.

"You lied about where you were going, you lied about knowing Porter, you pretended you had nothing to do with anything that happened. You've been lying to me every single day since we met." (43.111)

Frankie has a pretty good defense when Matthew gets so upset with her for lying to him. After all, hasn't he been doing the very same thing?

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