Dare Truth or Promise is a love story about two girls, Louie and Willa, who meet working at a local fast food restaurant. Sparks fly and soon they enter into a passionate and loving relationship. Willa has been involved with a girl before and her mother is both aware that she is a lesbian and supportive of her sexual identity. Louie is only discovering her sexual identity so she has not come out to her family, yet her mother takes an instant dislike to Willa and tries to prevent the two from spending time together. Louie’s mother eventually catches the two girls in bed and in an intense and traumatic scene, kicks Willa out of the house and forbids her from returning.
Much to Willa’s dismay, Louie is devastated by her mother’s reaction and internalizes these feelings of shame and guilt, withdrawing from their relationship:
Louie…looked at her in such pain that Willa couldn’t bear it. “I love you, Louie,” she said, starting to cry though she’d promised herself not to.
“I know.” Louie’s voice sounded ready to snap in two. “I love you too,” she said, at last. “But that’s not the point, is it? (p. 104)
Louie’s mother continues to push her away from Willa and tries to convince her to date men, yet Louie is miserable and eventually comes out to her priest in hopes of receiving moral guidance. In a very touching scene he explains to her what is really important:
Louie stared at him.
“And she? Does she love you?”
“Yes, I think she does.”
Father Campion smiled. “How wonderful.”
“How lucky you are, to love and to be loved in return.”
This wasn’t what Louie had expected. (p. 147)
This information gives Louie a much more positive perspective to reflect on, but it is eventually a car accident which brings the two back together. After this near tragedy they realize how lucky they are to have found each other and Louie is able to work through the negative messages which she received about herself and her sexual identity. At the same time Louie’s parents are so shaken by the accident that they reevaluate what is best for their daughter and open up to Willa as well.
In Dare Truth or Promise, we see how damaging it can be for young adults to be “outed” before they have time to work through their own emotions surrounding their sexual identity. Louie survives this experience and it ultimately strengthens her relationship with Willa but it is a very difficult time for both girls and highlights just how vulnerable young adults are at this stage in their lives.
Boock, P. (1999). Dare Truth or Promise. Boston: Houghton Mifflin.