Tuesday, 27 December 2011

Review: The Whole Truth

Title: The Whole Truth
Author: Kit Pearson
Publisher: Harper Trophy
Publication Date: August 16th, 2011
Genre: Junior Fiction, Historical Fiction

During the depression, nine-year-old Polly’s life is turned upside down when her father is reported dead. Polly and her fifteen-year-old sister Maud leave Winnipeg to go live with the Grandmother they can’t even remember who lives on an island outside of Victoria. Leaving everything they know behind, the girls move to the small island with the family they don’t even know. While Maud is sent to a girl’s school in Victoria, Polly goes to the local school on the island and adapts to her new life. But Polly’s secrets are becoming difficult to keep, not to mention her family seems to be keeping secrets from her. As Polly grows up on the island, she learns that the truth really can set you free.

I was a really big fan of Kit Pearson when I was younger, so when I saw this book in the bookstore I knew I had to find it at my library. The Whole Truth begins in 1932 during the depression. While Maud and Polly lived in poverty in Winnipeg, their Grandmother is quite well off and the family hunts, fishes and grows their own vegetables so they never have to worry about food. This book is mainly about Polly growing up, dealing with losing someone and struggling with secrets. Polly also learns that the people in her life are neither good nor bad, but often somewhere in-between. While I enjoyed the setting and the themes, this book didn’t live up to my expectations. While there are many children’s books that can be loved by anyone, I’m not sure that this is one of them. I felt like this was written specifically for children Polly’s age and the writing style was too young for my taste. The plot dragged a bit mid way through and sometimes the pacing didn’t feel right. However, I thought the characters were realistic and I liked how the reader was shown the good and bad sides of many of them. I felt a lot of what Polly was feeling, especially her frustrations with Maud and her sadness upon hearing about her Grandmother’s flaws. While it was an interesting story with a beautiful setting, nothing lived up to my memories of how wonderful Kit Pearson’s other books are. This made me want to re-read some of Pearson’s books (specifically The Sky is Falling) to see if they are as good as I remember or if they are more for younger children and won’t be as appealing to me now. If you are interested in Kit Pearson’s books, I’d recommend starting with The Guests of War trilogy and skipping this one for now. However, I think The Whole Truth would be most enjoyed by young girls, especially if they are interested in historical fiction (like I was.)


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