"Outside a dog a book is man's best friend, inside a dog it is too dark to read!" -Groucho Marx========="The person, be it gentleman or lady, who has not pleasure in a good novel, must be intolerably stupid." -Jane Austen========="I don’t believe in the kind of magic in my books. But I do believe something very magical can happen when you read a good book."-JK Rowling========"I spend a lot of time reading." -Bill Gates=========“Ahhh. Bed, book, kitten, sandwich. All one needed in life, really.” -Jacqueline Kelly=========

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

The Truth Commission by Susan Juby

The Truth Commission by Susan Juby is a book whose star is rising!

     When I first learned about this book I noticed that it had two starred reviews. Not bad. It is hard to gain those coveted stars. Next time I checked it had doubled to four. Now, after checking my sources which include Juby's website, those starred reviews have doubled again!  Eight starred reviews, unheard of!  So what is it about The Truth Commission that has reviewers coming back for a second look? I think it is the thing that has kept thinking about this books for a month, trying to figure out how I can capture it well enough to explain it to you in a coherent manner.

What is the book about?
     Normandy Pale has grown up in the shadow of an artistically talented older sister, Keira, who is the author and illustrator of a very popular graphic novel. Keira is not only temperamental and nearly impossible to live with, she also mines the family for all her material for her books. Every foible is exploited. Every misstep is is immortalized on the printed page. Normandy is understandably sick of it but her parents are unwilling to stand up to their old daughter. When Normandy and her friends at the art school they attend embark on the Truth Commission in an attempt to free their classmates of the tyranny of not being honest in all aspects of their lives, little does Normandy know that the Truth Commission will lead her back to her own life and her family.

What do those reviewers have to say?
The more lives the Truth Commission touches, the more ambivalent Normandy feels about its mission, which threatens her own passive acceptance of her family's status quo. In a tell-all, socially networked world, balancing the right to know (and use) "the truth" against the right to privacy is both confusing and challenging. Readers will root for these engaging characters to chart a successful course through these murky waters. Hilarious, deliciously provocative and slyly thought-provoking, -The Kirkus Reviews
This is a sharp-edged portrait of a dysfunctional family with some thought-provoking ideas about what is real. -Publisher's Weekly 
Juby Beautifully frames the questions at the heart of adolescence. When do you want to know the truth and is it too much? How much do you present to the world and how much do you keep for yourself? -Shelf Awareness
What makes this book interestingly unique?
     Footnotes! (See photo below for an example.) The story is framed as a creative nonfiction writing assignment by Normandy. And boy is she creative with her footnotes. They are funny, insightful, and distracting, but then, that is the point. Have I ever mentioned I am a fan of footnotes? I love them here.
Sample of footnotes from The Truth Commission
How did this book work as an audiobook?
     Actually, though I enjoyed listening to the audio version of the book, I recommend you read this one. The whole footnote thing is the reason. There are so many of them and even though the audiobook producers used a cool little gong system to indicate the text was a footnote, I would still get confused at times.

My rating?
     I originally rated this book as a 4 out of 5 stars, but recently upgraded my rating to 4.5. See! The Truth Commission is truly a book whose star is rising.

Don't take my work for it. Read it yourself and see if you don't agree!


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