Study Guide

Bev Spooner in What I Saw and How I Lied

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Bev Spooner

Femme Fatale

Everyone says the same thing about Bev: she's a total babe. After all, she's got that long blonde hair and those killer curves, and everywhere she goes, people notice her. Evie's always wanted to have the same power over men that her mom does, because she makes it seem so effortless. Just look at how she describes her mom:

You couldn't stop looking at her. She was a knockout. The way she held a cigarette, the way she danced in the kitchen, the way she could make supper with a cocktail glass in one hand—that was movie star glamour. You could almost forget she was just a housewife from Queens. (3.5)

But being beautiful and desired isn't always fun and games… sometimes it can get you into a lot of trouble. Bev's beauty gets her into trouble when it attracts Peter, and leads her to carry out an illicit affair. And when all of this ends in Peter's death, it looks like being gorgeous comes at a seriously high cost—like, accessory-to-murder high.

Mother Knows Best

Bev isn't just some airhead off chasing men, though. She's gone through her fair share of hardships, and through it all, she's made it her priority to be a good mother to Evie. Evie tells us:

And then the worst time. When Aunt Vivian wanted to take me away from Mom and adopt me—Mom fought her like crazy. She even risked her job, and there were no jobs around back then.

"Nobody takes my baby away," Mom said. (16.45-46)

No wonder Evie starts out thinking her mom's the total package. She's beautiful, sure, but she also fights to keep their little unit together, and is willing to risk a lot (like her job) to do so. Plus she tries to protect Evie from the ugliness of the world by making sure that she stays innocent and childlike for as long as she can. But in the end, she fails to protect Evie from all the bad things in the world—in fact, she's the one who shows Evie how flawed people can really be when Evie learns of her affair.

It's a major fall from grace, and not just because Evie kept Bev on a pedestal. She willingly used her daughter to execute her affair, so whether Peter was murdered or not (and if he was, Bev was likely in on it), Bev is pretty tarnished in her daughter's eyes when the book ends.

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