Friday, September 7, 2012

Review: All the Truth by Laura Brodie

This book starts out with a prologue that depicts the beginning of an event that shapes the rest of the book. Emma Greene is at home with her daughter when some students from the college where she's a professor show up on her property drunk. They ask to use the bathroom and what happens next changes everyone's lives forever.

The truth...what is the truth and what is the whole truth? Everyone in this book operates under assumptions of what the truth is...including the reader for a period of the story. What happened that night? Who's fault is it? Was what happened justified? These are the questions the various characters wrestle with--each character owns a piece of the truth that they might not be sharing with everyone.

Maggie, Emma's daughter, was a witness that night and through some unlikely circumstances finds herself in a situation where she meets someone else who was there that night. Does this woman, Grace, hold the answers that Maggie seeks?

I don't really want to talk too much about the plot because I think part of what Brodie aims to do is reveal how we make assumptions based on the information we have available to us. (in this way it kind of reminds me of A Separation!) Often, we only own a piece of the truth, not all the truth, and I think she's pretty effective with this.

The prose is very lovely in this book. Apart from the ideas of how we base on our lives on the truth available to us, I was thinking about what else this book is about. Admittedly there were times when it dragged a little to me. There's lots of recounting past events and going into detail about things and even characters that felt less than necessary to me. But...I still liked it, don't get me wrong. It's a solid read. I think one of the main themes of this book is female anger. This is hard for me to talk about with spoiling, but one of the characters feels a lot of anger and at the same time, feels like there's no real outlet for her to have that anger, because of the roles women are cast in. This idea of the roles cast for women and the reality of how they actually feel is very prominent in the book with every character. Girls are encouraged to be nice, to be friendly, mild mannered, but they don't always feel that way. And they might find outlets for their real feelings in other ways. And that's all the truth. :)

Anyway, it's a good read with a hint of a mystery!

Rating: 4/5
Source of Book: Review copy from publisher
Publisher: Berkley Books (Penguin)


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