One of Us is Lying

by

Karen McManus

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One of Us is Lying: Chapter 22 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Sunday evening, Cooper’s father’s phone rings; he takes the call, and afterwards informs Cooper that Detective Chang wants Cooper to come down to the station again. Cooper is agitated—he hasn’t been questioned in a while, and was beginning to hope that the whole thing was going to soon blow over.
Cooper was lulled into a sense of false security, despite harboring a major secret that has not yet been exposed.
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After dinner, Cooper and his father go to the station, where Cooper’s lawyer Mary and Detective Chang beckon Cooper to the interrogation room. Mary asks if Cooper is comfortable having his father in the room; though Cooper’s dad insists he should be there, Mary suggests they bring him in only if needed. In the interrogation room, Detective Chang pulls out a laptop and turns it around to face Cooper—he reveals that they “missed something” in their initial analysis of Simon’s files, and have recovered a second encrypted entry for Cooper. Cooper and his lawyer lean forward to read it—it reveals that Cooper is having an affair with a male German underwear model.
As Cooper confronts Detective Chang—and the very dangerous bombshell he has uncovered—it seems as if things are worse than ever. Not only is Cooper’s worst, darkest secret out in the open at last, but the way in which it has been brought to light seems to indicate that there’s some subterfuge going on—shady dealings that could easily implicate Cooper, who arguably had the most to lose of any of the Bayview Four.
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Detective Chang asks Cooper if the rumor is true, but Mary insists he doesn’t need to answer. Chang points out that because of the file being replaced with a false rumor, it appears as if someone accessed Simon’s files, tampered with the last entry, and then “made sure” that Simon wouldn’t be around to correct it. Detective Chang states that Cooper is now a “more significant person of interest”; Cooper is so stunned that he can’t speak.
Detective Chang adds to Cooper’s misery by informing him that the investigation will be turning to him; though Cooper is distressed, his outward emotions convey only shock and awe.
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Though Mary claims that disclosing information about sexual orientation violates Cooper’s rights to privacy, Chang insists that Cooper reveal everything he knows about the entry. Cooper knows they want him to confess to Simon’s murder, even though Cooper’s killing Simon makes no logical sense. Cooper knows that even if his lawyer tries to keep the information from getting out, it will leak soon; he realizes he will have to tell his father the truth. Chang leaves, telling Cooper they’re going to do some digging over the next few days; Cooper knows they plan to make him “miserable” until he caves from the pressure of the investigation.
Cooper is smart enough to realize that the investigation hasn’t really been getting anywhere, and the detectives are grasping at straws now. He is too smart to implicate himself in Simon’s murder, even though Chang has found a motive that works. Still, Cooper realizes that there will be other consequences; no matter what happens on the investigator’s end, Cooper is still going to have to reveal the biggest secret of his life.
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Mary urges Cooper to tell his father the truth—he will still love Cooper, she says. Cooper privately thinks that his father doesn’t even know him. When Cooper and his lawyer emerge from the room, Cooper’s father asks what transpired inside, but Cooper deflects his questions all the way to the parking lot. Once inside the car, Cooper confesses that he needs to talk to his father about something, but suggests they wait until they get home. Back at the house, Cooper tells his mother, his father, and his Nonny the truth by revealing what Simon was actually going to post about him. Cooper’s father insists it has to be a joke, but Cooper tells his father that it isn’t.
Cooper has spent his whole life striving to live up to his father’s expectations. In doing so, Cooper has created an external image of himself which does not match up with who he really is inside; he has leaned into the stereotypical version of himself to avoid exposing the real Cooper within. As Cooper finally divulges his secret to his family, it is so unlikely to them that they can barely comprehend it; Cooper was right when he asserted that his father didn’t know him enough to truly love him.
Themes
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Gossip, Secrets, and Lies Theme Icon
Wisdom of the Youth Theme Icon
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