The Stonewall Award selection committee said this about the book,
In “The Porcupine of Truth,” an epic journey takes two unlikely friends into the heart of community, history, family, and themselves,” said Stonewall Book Awards Children’s and Young Adult Subcommittee Chair Marian Mays.Carson and his mother move back to Billings, Montana to nurse his father who is dying from complications from his alcoholism. The day that Carson arrives in Billings he meets a girl his age, Aisha, who is living at the zoo after being kicked out of her home for being a lesbian. The two teens become instant friends and Carson invited Aisha to live with him until she gets her life settled. As they attempt to make some room for her in the basement they discover boxes which contain documents which Carson thinks would help his father understand the mystery of what happened to his father and we he abandoned the family many years before. With a little more digging the two new friends decide to go on a short road trip to follow up on a lead which might help them locate Carson's grandfather. The short road trip turns into a much longer one as clues lead the pair onward. As with all epic road trip novels, answers are the awaiting the travelers at the end of the trip, but those answers are surprising and unexpected.
The book is divided into four parts. For some reason, I had a hard time gaining any traction on the story until I reached part three, which is well over half way through the book. Carson's sarcasm and his seeming anger at God were a bit off-putting and frankly confusing. The porcupine of truth is what he says is his guiding principle of life. Carson should be a sympathetic character since he has basically been raised by his mother with a very neglectful, alcoholic father. But his sarcastic humor makes him rather unlikable. Aisha, who really ends up being the more sympathetic of the two, has a much bigger claim on anger toward God based on the reason she was kicked out of her home. Honestly, I am not sure why Aisha put up with Carson for their whole road trip.
The last two sections of the book make up for the the first two. In fact I was very appreciative of the information that was revealed, which included a bit of a history lesson. I won't tell you what is revealed because it will give the whole book away. No spoilers here. Let me just say, I now know why the book earned the book award for excellence in literature on a LGBT theme.
My rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars.
I read the print book from my own library.