When Robbie spends the summer at his grandmother Maddy's house, he revels in his grandmother's easy, relaxed ways. Robbie has always felt as if something is missing in his life his parents don't always act like they love him. Maddy helps him understand that an experience his mother had long ago is at the heart of the problem in his family.Read more...
When Robbie spends the summer at his grandmother Maddy's house, he revels in his grandmother's easy, relaxed ways. Robbie has always felt as if something is missing in his life his parents don't always act like they love him. Maddy helps him understand that an experience his mother had long ago is at the heart of the problem in his family. With this knowledge, Robbie finds the courage to try to make things right.
This poignant story from beloved author Patricia MacLachlan celebrates how our unique "small truths" make each of us magical and brave in our own ways.
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Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2013-06-03
- Reviewer: Staff
A boy discovers newfound courage and an old family secret during an eventful summer stay with his beloved grandmother in Newbery Medalist MacLachlan’s brief but emotionally intense novel. Robbie can’t wait to visit his grandmother Maddy, who will care for him and his dog, a “brown hound mix” named Ellie, when Robbie’s parents go on tour with their classical music quartet. Unlike his distant and distracted mother and father, Maddy likes to have adventures, tells awesome stories, and even communes with wild animals near her home. Robbie doesn’t care that Maddy’s stories make people nervous, even if he’s not sure they’re true. When an overnight campout with Maddy takes a scary turn, Robbie must call on Ellie and Maddy’s friend Henry to help them, and the ordeal spurs some important revelations. MacLachlan demonstrates her mastery of elegantly unfolding a tale and gently plucking at readers’ heartstrings without taking a maudlin tone. The story’s satisfying but not overly neat ending suggests a hopeful path forward for these memorable characters. Ages 6–10. Agent: Rubin Pfeffer, East West Literary Agency. (July)
Simple truths from a summer with grandma
“Not all kids are best friends with their grandmothers. But I am,” narrator Robbie tells readers in the opening pages of The Truth of Me. Robbie’s parents are touring the world with their string quartet, so Robbie—along with his other best friend, his dog Ellie—are staying with Robbie’s grandmother Maddy for the summer.
Maddy isn’t like most grandmothers. She hates cooking (on a previous visit, she served Robbie doughnuts for dinner), preferring to spend time in the woods with her wild animal companions. Robbie’s mother questions Maddy’s unusual priorities, but Robbie loves Maddy the way she is. Her friend Henry, the local doctor, does too. During one of their frequent evenings together, Henry tells Robbie that everyone has their own small truths . . . and challenges Robbie to find one of his own by summer’s end. Does Robbie’s truth have to do with his suspicion that his mother loves her violin more than she loves him? Does it have to do with Maddy’s special relationships with the creatures of the forest? Or is some other truth out there waiting to be discovered—a story that belongs to Robbie alone?
Author Patricia MacLachlan, best known for the Newbery Medal-winning Sarah, Plain and Tall, once again demonstrates that simple language can be used to convey powerful ideas. Themes of friendship, family and the past’s relationship with the present blend with a touch of humor, and elements of both realistic fiction and magical realism combine so seamlessly that the exact transition between them is hard to detect. For example, is Maddy just a good dog trainer, or is some special gift at work when Ellie learns to coexist peacefully with the squirrels she used to chase? Did Maddy really once sit on a log and share cornbread with a bear? And since Robbie’s age is never explicitly stated, readers across the elementary school years can identify with him as he navigates a summer full of camping, music, animals and most of all, simple truths.