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None of This Is True Summary, Characters and Themes

“None of This is True” is a 2023 psychological thriller novel by Lisa Jewell. It follows Alix Summer, a podcaster, and Josie Fair, a woman with a troubled past who seeks Alix’s help to share her story. 

Their meeting sparks a podcast, but as they delve deeper, dark secrets emerge, blurring the lines between reality and deception. The novel explores themes of identity, manipulation, and the dangers of seeking validation through storytelling. 


In the story, podcaster Alix Summer encounters Josie Fair, a woman seeking a life change and eager to share her story on Alix’s podcast. Despite initial reservations, Alix agrees, and they begin recording sessions in Alix’s home studio.

Josie’s revelations about her tumultuous past shock Alix. She details meeting her husband, Walter, at 13, marrying him at 18, and enduring a troubled marriage. Josie hints at Walter’s abuse towards their younger daughter, Erin, and the mysterious disappearance of their older daughter, Roxy’s, girlfriend, Brooke Ripley.

As the interviews progress, Josie ingratiates herself into Alix’s life, taking small items from her home and planting seeds of doubt about Alix’s husband, Nathan’s, fidelity. 

During a tense dinner at Alix’s house, Nathan’s alcohol addiction resurfaces, upsetting Josie. Later that night, a bruised Josie appears at Alix’s doorstep, claiming Walter assaulted her and Erin.

Josie moves in with Alix, further blurring the lines between their lives. The podcast continues, delving into Brooke’s disappearance and unraveling Josie’s web of manipulation. Josie exploits Nathan’s struggles, deepening Alix’s suspicions.

After Josie’s departure, Nathan vanishes, last seen with a car rented under Erin’s name. Alix realizes Josie has kidnapped Nathan, prompting a frantic search. Police uncover a gruesome scene at Josie’s apartment: Walter dead in the bathtub, Erin severely injured.

Roxy returns to care for Erin, who reveals Josie’s crimes upon waking from a coma. Walter wasn’t abusing Erin; they were gaming partners, monetizing Erin’s talent. Erin also discloses that Josie killed Brooke, whose body is later found in the Fairs’ garage.

Tragically, Nathan is found dead where Josie held him captive. Josie claims it was accidental, expressing a twisted desire for Alix to experience freedom without Nathan. Alix receives a final, unsettling message from Josie.

Over a year later, Josie, on a bus, overhears chatter about a Netflix documentary based on Alix’s podcast. 

She reflects on the night of Brooke’s death, recalling Roxy’s accidental killing and the family’s collusion to hide it. Despite the darkness, Josie clings to the belief that she was a good mother.

None of This is True Summary


Alix Summer

A successful podcaster in her mid-40s, Alix is the primary narrator and protagonist. Intelligent and ambitious, she is drawn to Josie’s story, seeing it as a potential hit for her podcast. 

However, her naivety and desire for success blind her to Josie’s manipulative nature. 

Alix’s vulnerability, stemming from her husband’s alcoholism and her own insecurities, makes her susceptible to Josie’s influence. 

As the story unfolds, Alix transforms from a trusting individual to a suspicious and hardened woman, scarred by the events she experiences.

Josie Fair

The enigmatic antagonist, Josie is a complex character shrouded in mystery. She is manipulative, cunning, and a master of deception. 

Her traumatic past, marked by an early marriage and a troubled family life, fuels her desire for control and revenge. Josie’s actions are often driven by a warped sense of justice and a longing for a different life. 

Her ability to manipulate and exploit others’ weaknesses makes her a formidable adversary.

Nathan Summer

Alix’s husband, Nathan, struggles with alcoholism, a significant source of conflict in their marriage. Initially portrayed as a supportive and loving partner, Nathan’s addiction gradually erodes his relationship with Alix. 

His disappearance and subsequent death highlight the destructive power of addiction and the tragic consequences it can have on loved ones.

Erin Fair

Josie’s youngest daughter, Erin, is presented as a recluse who only consumes baby food. However, her true identity as a successful gamer is a shocking revelation. 

Erin’s resilience and determination to escape her mother’s control showcase her strength and independence.

Roxy Fair

Josie’s eldest daughter, Roxy, is a rebellious figure who fled her troubled home at a young age. Her reappearance towards the end of the novel adds another layer to the complex family dynamics. 

Roxy’s loyalty to her sister and her willingness to confront her mother’s crimes demonstrate her courage and desire for justice.

Walter Fair

Josie’s husband, Walter, is a shadowy figure whose presence looms over the story. His abusive behavior and controlling nature contribute to the toxic environment within the Fair household. 

Walter’s death, although initially attributed to Josie, reveals the intricate web of lies and manipulation that define the family.


Deceptive Nature Of Appearences

A central theme in the novel is the exploration of identity and the deceptive nature of appearances. 

The novel delves into the complexities of human nature, revealing how individuals can craft elaborate facades to conceal their true selves. 

Josie Fair, the enigmatic figure at the heart of the story, masterfully manipulates her narrative, blurring the lines between reality and fiction. Through her interactions with Alix Summer, the podcaster, Josie constructs a captivating persona, carefully curating the details of her life to elicit sympathy and intrigue. 

However, as the layers of deception are gradually peeled away, the reader is confronted with the unsettling truth that Josie’s identity is a carefully constructed illusion. 

The novel challenges us to question the authenticity of the stories we are told and to recognize the potential for manipulation and deceit in even the most seemingly trustworthy individuals.

The Power of Storytelling and Narrative Control

The novel also examines the power of storytelling and the ways in which narratives can be manipulated to shape perceptions and influence outcomes. 

Alix Summer, as a podcaster, wields the ability to amplify voices and share stories with a wide audience. However, her collaboration with Josie Fair exposes the inherent dangers of unchecked narrative control. 

Josie, through her calculated disclosures and omissions, manipulates the podcast narrative to her advantage, casting herself as a victim and obscuring her own culpability. 

The novel highlights the ethical responsibilities inherent in storytelling, emphasizing the importance of verifying information and considering multiple perspectives. 

It serves as a cautionary tale about the potential for narratives to be weaponized and used to deceive and manipulate.

Manipulation and Gaslighting

The theme of manipulation and gaslighting is deeply intertwined with the exploration of identity and deception. 

Josie Fair’s interactions with both Alix Summer and her own family are characterized by a pattern of psychological manipulation. She employs gaslighting tactics, distorting reality and sowing seeds of doubt in the minds of those around her. 

By subtly undermining their perceptions and questioning their sanity, Josie gains control and manipulates them into conforming to her narrative. 

This theme highlights the insidious nature of emotional abuse and the devastating impact it can have on individuals’ sense of self and their ability to trust their own judgment.

The Dark Side of Social Media With a Constant Pursuit of Validation

In “None of This Is True,” the allure of social media and the relentless pursuit of validation play a significant role in driving the characters’ actions and motivations. 

Alix Summer’s podcast, with its potential for widespread reach and recognition, becomes a platform for Josie Fair to craft her carefully constructed persona and seek validation for her fabricated narrative. 

The novel delves into the darker aspects of social media, exploring how it can be used to manipulate perceptions, amplify falsehoods, and fuel unhealthy obsessions with external validation. 

It serves as a commentary on the potential dangers of seeking self-worth through online platforms and the importance of cultivating a strong sense of self that is not reliant on external affirmation.