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Penguin Group (USA) LLC
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All the Truth That's In Me Kindle Edition
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|Length: 288 pages||Word Wise: Enabled||Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled|
|Page Flip: Enabled||
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|Age Level: 12 - 17|
|Grade Level: 7 and up|
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Top customer reviews
It is refreshing to see a novel where the author understands that explicit content isn’t necessary for a good read. Judith has had a horrifying experience but she’s survived; yet it is apparent that many in her Puritan village feel she shouldn’t have and even blame her for acts she had no control over. Further, they assume the worst and treat her as though she is unclean. One feels for Judith’s pain and admires her tenacity and courage throughout her ordeal, both in her recollections and in her present situation.
Throughout the story we are in her mind as she lives on the fringe of society. She is a girl who can never completely lose hope though she tries to convince herself that she can. All her thoughts are directed to one person, Lucas, and she speaks as though she is writing to him. She has loved him all her life and at one point hoped he would return the sentiment, but, having been kidnapped and then mutilated so she cannot speak clearly, she is certain this dream is forever out of her reach. The twists and turns as her tale unwinds are often completely unexpected and leave the reader to think long after the book has been closed. All The Truth That’s In Me was written for a young adult audience, but the story and artful writing make it a great read for older adults as well.
As I continued my reading, I found myself _needing_ to turn the pages. What I wrongly believed was a simple story transformed into one of multiple dimensions and profound depth. I found myself fretting over tensions I was unsure could be satisfactorily resolved. I learned I had been cleverly deceived into making assumptions that were quite surprisingly (and skillfully) turned upside-down.
"All The Truth That's In Me" provides the reader with an amazing message of transformation - from darkness to light, from weakness to strength, from cruelty to redemption. I found my-(typically-non-emotional)-self choked up as I read the last few pages.
I've passed along the book to my two daughters (12 and 17). I believe that they, too, will love it. More importantly, this book covers some very serious topics worthy of discussion. I'm grateful that, while Julie Berry did not shy away from making the reader uncomfortable, she omitted anything remotely gratuitous and kept the novel well within the bounds of young adult readership.
Judith, 18, tells the story as if she’s writing a love note that “you” will never receive. She lovingly describes “your” hands pulling a lamb into the world, offering the reader a view of the beloved through her eyes. Yet what of Maria—the town beauty—who is betrothed to “you.” All is hopeless. Besides which Maria has a big heart. How can Judith hate her?
“You” turns out to be Lucas, 22, the object of Judith’s affection since they were babies. The narrator also speaks of “him.” As readers, we must turn the pages to discover who that is.
Judith doesn’t speak. Why? She has been silenced by a traumatic experience, clearly. But what? Her loving father is gone, her mother is worse than unsympathetic—she’s incriminating. Her younger brother is spoiled and cruel.
The story of longing is set within an impending war. When ships are seen 20 miles out to sea the townspeople are panicked. Judith might be able to turn around the village’s devastation? But at what cost?
The writing is spare—nothing wasted—as would be true for a person who does not or cannot speak. She writes, “Do you remember the Aldruses logrolling?”
In this scene she delivers layers of emotional and informational groundwork. It’s a land-clearing work/party when Judith, 14, was among the anxious young girls presenting their puddings for the lads to sample. The author introduces Lottie who will become central to the mystery, all the while showing the innocence of their lives before the mysterious crisis occurred. This is neatly set amongst sensual details, which allow us to whole-heartedly enter this early American settlement.
On page 17, so much is suggested in one sentence: “Your father died the night the town believed he did, and my captor was born from his ashes.” Did I catch the gravity of that line the first time through? It made me turn a page, that’s for sure.
This is a love so great Judith will end her life to save Lucas—but there is nothing cheap here. And who was Lottie’s beau? There are so many questions to be answered and you’re so near the end and you still don’t know—until you do.
But why did the publisher choose for the cover a bottle blonde with heavy black eye-makeup—the one mystery outside the author’s control and the one that didn’t work for me. Except maybe the overly-complicated title.
I’ve tried to entice you without giving spoilers. Forget everything I’ve said and go read this.
Patricia Hruby Powell is a nationally touring speaker, dancer, author. Her new work Josephine: The Dazzling Life of Josephine Baker is available at book stores.
I think this is a great book for older teens.
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