A review by Nalini Haynes
Mark is a 12 year old boy who runs away from home with only his dog, a small terrier called Beau. From the time he smashes an antique pocket watch because it’s ticking the seconds of his life away, the reader knows Mark is dying. Gradually Mark’s plan unfolds: to climb Mount Rainier. Alone.
He’s planned ahead, purchasing some tickets and carrying enough money to get there, but Mark runs into some unexpected obstacles along the way.
The Honest Truth is a cross between The Fault in Our Stars and Proof (the 1991 movie starring Hugo Weaving as a blind man who photographs the world to collect proof of the things he can’t see). This is a heart-wrenching novel for which a box of tissues is essential and some comfort food doesn’t go astray.
At times Mark seems much older than his 12 years. At others, he is convincingly 12. However, any children who read The Honest Truth should do so with support and, possibly, a debriefing afterwards.
The adults in The Honest Truth are two-dimensional and unconvincing, serving only to frame Mark’s journey. However, the story focuses on Mark and his best friend Jessie.
Gemeinhart takes us on a downward emotional journey with a heartwarming bittersweet ending incorporating a moral and a resolution for Mark’s grief.
The Honest Truth is recommended for people who like The Fault in our Stars and don’t mind a slightly younger protagonist in a shorter, simpler book. Read with tissues.
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Format: Paperback, 231 pages
Publisher: THE CHICKEN HOUSE (Scholastic)