The truth of me
About a boy, his grandmother,
a very good dog
Robbie is a young boy who possesses amazing wisdom especially about the adults in his life. His mother is the leader of a string group called the Allegro Quartet. I imagine they might look like this group who you will see here playing Schubert String Quartet 14 - Death and the Maiden. This music is very well known by Robbie - it is a piece his mother regularly performs.
"My parents are musicians. My mother, I think, likes her violin better than she likes me. At least she spends more time with her violin than with me."
Robbie is really named Robert. In his family all the men have been named Robert. Thank goodness for his precious grandmother who calls him Robbie and her friend Henry who calls him Kiddo. With his grandmother, Robbie finds the love he needs for himself and for his dog. His mother seems cold and distant as though Robert is a issue or a nuisance to be dealt with and perhaps less important than replacing musicians in her quartet.
Robbie and his dog Ellie are sent to stay with Maddy (his grandmother) while his mother and father travel for a concert tour.
"Maddy's house is like the house in Little Bear, one of my favorite books when I was little. It is a cottage with whitewashed plaster walls, big colorful braided rugs, lots of bookshelves, a fireplace and overstuffed chairs."
Henry, the local doctor, lives nearby. Henry watches over Maddy because she is becoming a little forgetful. Henry seems to have taken over the cooking for Maddy. Robbie knows she also tells stories about her relationship with the wild animals of the forest but he is wise enough not to share this with his parents.
"There are many things I don't tell my parents. Many things I don't say out loud. That means there are many things rolling around inside my head."
Henry explains to Robbie about small truths. He tells Robbie he will have his own small truth by the end of the summer. "He reaches over to tap my hand. It's only a small tap, but it's comforting." This beautiful image will linger with me a long time. The truth Robbie discovers is not small - it is important and it gives him a way to understand his mother. In the final scene Robbie can finally tell his mother, out loud, that he loves her.
You can and should read a chapter sample here. I don't usually talk about this but if you cannot find a print copy of The truth of me it is available on iTunes.
You might like to read other books by Patricia MacLachlan - I highly recommend all of them.
I would follow The truth of me with The boy on the Porch by Sharon Creech and Because of Winn Dixie by Kate DiCamillo.
Robbie’s quietly affecting observations will feel like truth Kirkus
This poignant story celebrates how our unique “small truths” make each of us magical and brave in our own ways. Kids Reads