Study Guide

What I Saw and How I Lied Lust

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And then I forgot everything except the dance. I was able to dance for the first time in my life, really dance, and understand why it worked, one body against another body. (7.59)

Evie's just a young girl, but she still has a Dirty Dancing moment when Peter asks her to dance by the pool. After all, nobody puts Evie in a corner.

It was only a second. A quick kiss. He didn't even put his arms around me. But it was a kiss, a real kiss. Right on the lips. I felt his whiskery stubble against my chin. I was being kissed, and by a man, not a boy. (15.36)

Evie's never even been kissed by a boy her own age before, so it must be thrilling to be kissed by someone who is actually growing facial hair. Peter Coleridge isn't some dopey high school boy; he's a man who's served in the war. Swoon.

What was stopping me from finding out what lay behind Peter's kiss? He had kissed me that one time, a real kiss, right on the mouth. Sure, he'd regretted it, but he'd done it. He'd called me irresistible, so why was he resisting? (16.64)

Good girls aren't supposed to want to find out what's beyond a kiss, but Evie's curiosity is killing her. Curiosity doesn't seem to be killing Peter in return (leave that to Joe and Bev).

"I won't have that man sniffing after my daughter!" Joe shouted. "Did you see the way he looked at her? Like a boy scout going for his merit badge in hound dog!" (18.26)

He's not Evie's real father, but the idea of grown men sniffing around his teenage daughter still grosses Joe out. He's outraged when he sees Peter looking at Evie in a new—and sexual—light.

"Could it really happen like this?" He asked. "That a girl like you can make me feel…"

"Make you feel what?"

"Make me feel," he said. (20.67-69)

All this time, Peter's treated Evie like a friend's kid sister—someone whose girly crush he humors. But now that he's told her the truth and she accepts him for who he is, he can't help but see her in a new way.

And the kiss turned into something deep and secret.

His mouth opened, and mine opened, too. His tongue went into my mouth and I was so surprised, I didn't know what to do. At first. Then he showed me. (20.77-78)

Evie may be inexperienced, but she makes up for it in sheer enthusiasm. After all, learning how to French kiss can't be that hard, can it?

I knew this was wrong, and I knew I didn't care, but I was confused. No one had gone through the steps of this with me. I only had Margie in my head, nodding knowingly even though she didn't know anything.

He pushed up against me, against my skirt. This was it, this was the knowing. (20.81-82)

Okay, so maybe Evie's been warned a million times against being loose with her morals and virtue. But what does that mean, really? Evie has no idea. Apparently sex ed wasn't really a thing back in the 1940s.

"So I had to raise you alone—and let me tell you, it wasn't easy. Because I was pretty. I had a kid and no husband, and people's minds get dirty. The men look and the women talk and it doesn't matter how straight a line you walk. It makes you so… tired." (22.10)

Evie's always thought that her mom had it easier because she's so beautiful, but that's not the case at all. Because she's an attractive single mom, everyone looks at her with sex on their minds—they aren't fair in their judgments of her at all.

I felt a surge of the power my mother had. I could see that Wally wasn't thinking anymore. He was heading straight for what he wanted with a determination that was out of control, a train jumping the tracks and never losing speed. (23.27)

Finally Evie has the same kind of power that her mother does—she can make a man (or a boy, in Wally's case) lose himself to lust, so that he thinks of nothing else. Is that really what she wants, though?

They'd been… something together. Something I didn't want to know about. I thought of Peter's kiss, thought of how he must have kissed her that way.

More than that. It was sex. That was what had been between them. (29.39-40)

If you'd like to join us in a collective groan, please feel free. One… two… three… ugh. Poor Evie's had her curiosity majorly piqued by Peter when it comes to all things hot and heavy, only to realize he's been saving the goods for her mom… while kissing both of them. It's terrible.

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