This is Not a Lie

Fiction - LGBTQ
336 Pages
Reviewed on 05/06/2021
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Author Biography

Author S.C. Farrow loves to write but she hasn't always been a writer. In the past, she's had some pretty wacky jobs like lampshade maker, cigarette girl, and vocalist. She's also done some wacky things like spending a week in a Swiss castle with the Hugh Jackman of Cuba, climbing inside the Great Pyramid of Egypt, climbing to the top of the Sidney Music Bowl, and getting arrested for possession of a prohibited substance.

Born and raised in Australia, S.C. lives in the leafy green northern suburbs of Melbourne. She has a master's degree in creative writing and teaches creative writing at institutions across the city.

    Book Review

Reviewed by K.C. Finn for Readers' Favorite

This is Not a Lie is a work of fiction in the interpersonal drama, social issues, and LGBTQIA+ sub-genres, and was penned by author S. C. Farrow. The work is aimed at the mature adult reading audience owing to the use of explicit language throughout, the presence of graphic violence, and scenes of a sexual nature. Set in the year 1984, we find ourselves in Melbourne where a rock music dreamer, Joel, pursues his dream of music in the rock scene there and goes from strength to strength. But on the inside, Joel struggles with a serious drug addiction and hidden homosexuality, and it only takes a striking new frontman in his band for Joel’s journey to take a dramatic tailspin.

Author S. C. Farrow has crafted what is best described as a wholly realistic life drama, with all the dark shadows and bright lights that a life lived hiding your true heart can bring you. I adored Joel from the off, for all his flaws, secrets, and talents, and from the earnest, close attention of the narrative in bringing us to the tragic reasons for his choices and behaviors in the tale. Farrow juxtaposes truth with fantasy, fame with honesty, and outside appearance versus self-esteem with a true talent for fully understanding these emotions and all the shades of grey in between. What results is a graphic tale that will really test your mettle as a reader, but is without a doubt one of the most original and well-represented works I’ve read this year. I would certainly recommend This is Not a Lie to all fans of LGBTQIA+ drama.

Vincent Dublado

It would be a grave disservice to simply describe S.C. Farrow’s This is Not a Lie as a gay rocker novel. This is a story of a time and place where a man is forced to deny his true self for the sake of pleasing a society that knows nothing about his inner struggles. Set in 1984, Australia, this is the story of Joel Reed, the guitarist of the band The Blackhearts. A gifted but tormented artist, Joel is a drug addict and a closet homosexual. When Harry Engel auditions to become the frontman of The Blackhearts, Joel’s heart races, and he becomes torn between his feelings and the success of the band. His sister Karen has given him a fair warning that Australia is not yet ready for a gay guitar god, that Australia is simply not ready for gay. In a time when drugs, sex, and excess are the highlights of Melbourne’s music scene, and AIDS was still something that happened only to some people, Joel will continue to deny his feelings for the sake of his career.

Joel’s tragedy is universal. It could be two women or lovers coming from different ethnic, religious, or economic backgrounds, and it can still bear the yoke of forbidden love. S.C. Farrow does not have to give you a magnified view of gayness to grasp the message. The plot says it all, and you sit back feeling sympathetic to Joel. The relationship is taboo, period. Such an idea stays in your mind throughout reading. This is Not a Lie deeply tells its story. But the storyline is very specific in that it becomes very dramatic and intensely profound. I can imagine someone out there reading this novel while shedding a tear—and this is the hallmark of a moving tale with a universal appeal.