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The Kindest Lie


A timely and soul-stirring novel about the lies families tell each other and the...
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Why do you think Mama didn't tell Ruth the truth? How might Ruth's life have been different if she had?

Created: 01/27/22

Replies: 12

Posted Jan. 27, 2022 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
barrye

Join Date: 07/20/14

Posts: 53

Why do you think Mama didn't tell Ruth the truth? How might Ruth's life have been different if she had?

Mama let Ruth believe her own mother, Joanna, didn't want her; Ruth only learns Mama had talked Joanna into leaving her kids years later. Why do you think Mama didn't tell Ruth the truth? How might Ruth's life have been different if she had?


Posted Jan. 28, 2022 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
melanieb

Join Date: 08/30/14

Posts: 265

RE: Why do you think Mama didn't ...

Ruth would have wanted to raise her son and delay college or go to college and not be able to focus on her education. Financially and emotionally being a single parent would have been extremely difficult.


Posted Jan. 28, 2022 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
carriem

Join Date: 10/19/20

Posts: 264

RE: Why do you think Mama didn't ...

Mama wanted Ruth to succeed in life not just as a mother but with a career that would gain her respect in society starting with graduation from college because she knew the struggles of being a single parent.


Posted Jan. 28, 2022 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
sylviaann

Join Date: 01/14/18

Posts: 83

RE: Why do you think Mama didn't ...

Mama was trying to give Ruth the best start in life she could. She felt you could be anything you wanted to be in the world but not with a baby. Her life would have been different as a single mom and she may have not been able to attend Yale.


Posted Jan. 29, 2022 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
janetp

Join Date: 08/16/11

Posts: 31

RE: Why do you think Mama didn't ...

Mama was very real to me. Ruth had so much academic potential and Mama wanted a different life for Ruth than the one that was available to a single black mother. I doubt she would have made it at Yale as a single mother at this time.


Posted Feb. 02, 2022 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
KAM9232006

Join Date: 12/03/11

Posts: 8

RE: Why do you think Mama didn't ...

I think Mama didn’t tell Ruth about her mother because she didn’t want Ruth to think that she’d robbed her of a life that likely wouldn’t have been what a child would dream up. Addiction is a hard thing to break especially if you leave the support of your family. Their mother would have been an addict and a single mother, both of which are hard. Mama probably thought that if she let Ruth think her mother left them it would have been easier to accept and move on. But you never know what decisions in life will come back to haunt you, or which ones will mess your kids up; she was just doing what she thought was right.

If Ruth had known the truth maybe she wouldn’t have felt abandoned or maybe she would have been bitter towards her grandparents. They wanted her to have a good life and it seems like for the most part Ruth did just that.


Posted Feb. 04, 2022 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
beckys

Join Date: 08/12/16

Posts: 259

RE: Why do you think Mama didn't ...

I think Mama truly thought she was doing the best thing for Ruth by keeping the information about the babies adoption from her. In her mind she was protecting her and thought it was the best way for her to carry on and have a successful life. But I don’t think she gave Ruth enough credit to have some input in her own future and to think of how that might affect her later on .


Posted Feb. 04, 2022 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
windellh

Join Date: 11/05/17

Posts: 72

RE: Why do you think Mama didn't ...

I agree with KAM232006.Mamma was also trying to right a wrong about how her own child was sick with addiction. Momma wanted a better life for Ruth so she told her that her own mother didn't want her releasing from the bondage of the past. Momma really wanted a better life for Ruth.


Posted Feb. 06, 2022 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
jos

Join Date: 03/14/21

Posts: 161

RE: Why do you think Mama didn't ...

I really felt Mamma had good intentions that unfortunately caused much pain for Ruth and her brother. Ruth was in a situation that was going to cause her to struggle either way. I absolutely hated that she didn’t let those kids know that her mom did want and love them, even though she was in no position to care for them. Those kids would have been less hurt and traumatized knowing that their mom had made some bad choices so their grandparents were stepping in to help and that their mom loved them no matter her situation in life.


Posted Feb. 08, 2022 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
acstrine

Join Date: 02/06/17

Posts: 466

RE: Why do you think Mama didn't ...

I'm thinking of how it must have been for Mama to let her own daughter go. I can imagine her daughter telling her how much she wants her kids, and Mama telling her the honest truth- -that she just wasn't equipped to handle them. It seems like Mama was from the generation where feelings weren't really talked about, examined, and analyzed. If there was a problem, you just solved it. Time wasn't wasted with the whys or hows. Ruth's mom wasn't capable of raising her children. That she really wanted to take her kids with her wasn't the important part. What mattered is that she couldn't. I can see Mama thinking there was no reason to make a fuss of what her daughter did or didn't want. The fact was Ruth wasn't going- -it wasn't safe. By thinking that her mother didn't want to take her, Ruth could (maybe) process and move on more quickly. Why play games of "what if"?

I think we have learned a lot about what affects a child's self esteem and self worth- -and more about a child's emotional development since the 1980's (???) when Mama may have had this conversation with Ruth.


Posted Feb. 08, 2022 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
skagitgrits's Gravatar
skagitgrits

Join Date: 02/24/17

Posts: 64

RE: Why do you think Mama didn't ...

I concur with the other responses here. Mama was trying to give Ruth the best opportunities towards a better life that either she or Ruth's mother had been dealt. It was well intended but, as often occurs, the consequences were far reaching.


Posted Feb. 14, 2022 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
xandrabk

Join Date: 04/16/19

Posts: 44

RE: Why do you think Mama didn't ...

I think that Mama chose not to tell the truth because she wanted Ruth to move on with her life and not spend time looking for her mother and seeking love. I think, though, telling her the truth would have given Ruth more self esteem. To feel unwanted causes hurt and an unimaginable emptiness that could have been avoided.


Posted Feb. 24, 2022 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
taking.mytime's Gravatar
taking.mytime

Join Date: 03/29/16

Posts: 424

RE: Why do you think Mama didn't ...

Mama again thought she was right and could raise Ruth and Eli better than Joanna. She thought she was saving them from a bad lifestyle and pain. Mama feared Ruth would try to find her own mother and never get out of the lifestyle she was destined to live.


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