My favourite thing about Kindness and Lies – by New Zealand writer Lisa Scott – is that here is a woman who completely understands the versatility of yoga pants. In an ode to the wonders of yoga pants, Scott writes “wearing the yoga pant implies you have a busy life filled with rushing around picking things (usually children) up and chairing flan committees, when really, the functional highlight of your day has been removing dog poop from the backyard […] Lounge wear disguised as active wear. Genius.” I couldn’t agree more – nor am I at odds with any of Scott’s frank, funny, yet gentle exploration of the relationships that matter: families, parenthood, romantic liaisons, and, of course, those pesky exes!
In this follow-up from Lisa Scott’s first book Travels with my Economist, she looks at the range of close relationships that make us who we are, and that constantly challenge us to grow and learn as people. Not afraid to lay bare her own life experiences in the areas of love, childbirth, divorce, and female friendships (as well as sex, drugs and rock’n roll – and a penchant for tall blond blokes), Scott is both encouragingly insightful, yet hilariously entertaining as she takes the reader on the rocky ride of what it means to be her, and – without gross generalisations – what it means to be a woman.
Based in Dunedin, Lisa Scott is well-known for her regular columns in NEXT magazine and the Otago Daily Times, and her ability to take a seemingly “domestic” matter or experience, and with great skill and ingenuity turn it into something relatable to anyone (proof of this is that my husband – who makes a point of staying away from my review books, well, actually most books in general –started reading Kindness and Lies unprompted, and grunted something that sounded like “this is really good”).
Kindness and Lies is all about our own humanity, shaped by those essential relationships we have to negotiate throughout our lives. Sometimes irreverent, sometimes poignant, the book nevertheless comes back to the importance of people. Especially powerful in her scrutiny of the mother/daughter relationship (both as a daughter and as a mother), Lisa Scott makes no highfalutin claims to have all the answers. Her conclusion? Simply that there are no easy answers – there are just stories, and perseverance and tolerance and kindness.