The Thing About the Truth is one of those books that swing back and forth between the present and the past. Had I read it as an absurd text, I might have had greater appreciation for it but I doubt that was anywhere near Barnholdt’s intention.
Stuck in the present, we glimpse Kelsey and Isaac in the office of the school superintendent, where they each recount what happened. Even though the story is told from a dual point-of-view between the two of them, there also is an alternation between ‘The Aftermath‘ and ‘Before’, amounting to four different narrative strands to keep track of.
The alternating points of view didn’t bother me so much. What bothered me was that the whole book was set in the present. I understand that the present is supposed to be more immediate to help teenagers connect more easily. That made a lot of sense too in the context of ‘The Aftermath’ but it made no sense for
‘Before’ because it clearly was the basis of the recounts from Kelsey from Isaac. Perhaps grammar of that sort won’t bother most and some won’t even notice but for me this was a glaring discrepancy, which hampered my enjoyment of the book.
Nonetheless, I think The Thing About the Truth worked because it was already apparent from the beginning that both protagonists were in trouble. That gave more room to focus on them as characters and their motivations. In a way, it slowed down the book because it wasn’t so plot-driven anymore. Of course, plot did matter to see how they ended up in the superintendent’s office in the first place but in the end, the why
took a more central position than the what
If you’re a reader who enjoys day-to-day type of stories, you are likely to enjoy The Thing About the Truth, especially if you’re looking for romance weaved into it. That is, if a neat and happy ending is not of primary importance to you. Open endings that don’t tie up all the loose ends are more true to life anyway.Thins review is also available at dudettereads.com.