Book Review: The Truth About Her by Jacqueline Maley

The Truth About Her written by journalist Jacqueline Maley is a story about a key moral dilemma for journalists – who owns the truth and who gets to tell a person’s story. The novel brings to life every journalists worst nightmare – when then penning and publishing of a story has the worst possible of consequences.

Wellness blogger and influencer Tracey Doran takes her own life after being exposed as a fraud. Journalist and single mother Suzy Hamilton finds out about Doran on her way to work, it was her investigative expose that exposed the influencer. Doran is horrified by the news and tries to bury herself in work, looking after her daughter, and having affairs as a distraction. The last distraction results in her losing her job, and her lovers.

The summer after I wrote the story that killed Tracey Doran, I had just stopped sleeping with two very different men, following involvement in what some people on the internet called a ‘sex scandal’, although when it was described that way it didn’t seem like the kind of thing that happened to me.

Suzy starts to receive anonymous letters and is pursued by Doran’s mother who wants her to write a feel good biography about her daughter as a kind of retribution. The two women start to meet regularly so the journalist can write a different story about Tracey. Like the slow peeling of an onion, the exercise gradually reveals the real truth about how the lives of the three women became entwined and what really happened to Tracey.

The Truth About Her is a contemporary novel with a well-drawn flawed protagonist who deftly explores themes about shame, guilt, female anger, and mothering.