The Truth CommissionBook - 2015
From the critics
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There are truths found in books or films when some writer puts exactly the right words together and it’s like their pen turned sword and pierced you right through the heart.
“Our families are often the thing that keep us stuck,” said Dusk. “If I bought into my family’s agenda, I would –“
“Be getting better than a C in biology right now,” I said.
“C-minus,” Dusk corrected.
. . . I feel it’s important to point out that lying is not the same as not telling the truth. Leaving things unsaid is part of being a civilized person, at least according to me.
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The title of Susan Juby’s new book may sound like a report from a government inquiry, but The Truth Commission is actually a hilarious story which can be briefly summarized by its subtitle: “Or, How Three Intrepid Art Students Got to the Bottom of One Unexpectedly Dark Secret”.
Told from the point of view of student Normandy Pale in a series of journal entries, the book is an account of the Truth Commission, formed by Normandy and two friends, Neil and Dusk. Its purpose? The Commission is intended to uncover secrets within their school, an art college, through “direct dialogue” instead of rumors, destructive gossip and unfounded assumptions.
As one can imagine, some unexpected (and laughable) secrets and “truths” are uncovered through these best intentions.
In contrast, Normandy’s family life is a struggle right now, involving a troublesome older sister who has recently published a graphic novel that falsely portrays her own family – including Normandy – in very unflattering ways. It’s an embarrassing situation, a reason why Normandy comes up with the idea of a “truth commission” at her school.
With its witty dialogue, wry humor, realistic characters and a thoroughly unanticipated conclusion, this is an original, thoughtful novel which explores some interesting “truths about truth.” Sometimes the truth can set you free; sometimes it can confine you. Some truths are best kept private, and some should not be kept secret … but as a teen, how do you know the difference between the two?
The Truth Commission is a well-deserved nominee for the Ontario Forest of Reading’s 2016 Red Maple Award. (Red Maple titles are generally intended for students in grades 7 and 8.)
** Recommended for ages 12 to 14 years.
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