The Trouble with The Truth
Publisher: Atria Books/ Infinite Words
Publication Date: 2/10/2015
My Rating: 3 Stars
Set in America’s Great Depression era, this poignant, funny, and utterly original novel tells the story of one lost girl’s struggle for truth, identity, and understanding amidst her family’s nomadic, unconventional lifestyle.
What’s the right way to behave, to think, to feel—if you’re always the new girl? How do you navigate life when you’re continually on the move? Do you lie? How do you even know if you’re lying? What’s the truth anyway?
It’s 1928 and nine-year-old Lucresse Briard is trying to make sense of life and the jumbled, often challenging family it’s handed her: a single art-dealer father who thinks nothing of moving from place to place; her brother, Ben, who succeeds in any situation and seems destined for stardom; and their houseman, Fred, who acts like an old woman. As Lucresse advances through childhood to adolescence, she goes from telling wild lies for attention to desperately seeking the truth of who she is as a sophistication-craving teenager in the 1930s.
Told from Lucresse’s perspective as a grown woman, The Trouble with the Truth transcends its time in the late 1920s and ’30s, and weaves the story we all live of struggling to learn who we are and the truth behind this human journey.
A special thank you to Betsy, the author's daughter, Atria Books and NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
The charming part of TROUBLE WITH THE TRUTH, is more so about the inspiration behind the book and its author. If you are unaware, Author Edna Robinson (1921–1990) is the mother of Betsy, editor of the book, as she shares a little of her mother’s stories—her mother’s 1957 novel; retyped and edited to an unknown world of digital readers. One Edna called “a fantasy.”
Betsy, the daughter notes the book demonstrates how ordinary and even amusing this struggle of to feel visible really is. A special book for her personally since it took fifty years to be published, and it would not go away, similar to her mom, Edna.
In this whimsical and quirky book, a series of short chapters, reading like a collection of short stories, is set in 1930's, about one lost little girl’s struggle with her identity, as she is part of an unconventional and nontraditional family of misfits.
Lucresse, now a grown woman, is telling the story of her youth starting when she was nine years old, in 1928. As most, they are not dirt poor as many during this era. Her mother is deceased and her single father is an art dealer who moves all around the place, dragging Lucresse and brother, Ben (seems to always transition easily), and of course the houseman, Fred (he takes care of everything, like an old woman, a housekeeper, manager, and nanny). Her only relative was Aunt Catherine Tippet.
The dad, Walter is crazy and eccentric. When Jen, their mom died, their aunt would have liked to have declared the father unfit, but did not want to ruin her sister’s name. From birth in 1921 to the first nine years, the parents lived in twenty different places. They did not marry until he was fifty-two and her forty-six, which is odd for this time period.
As the stories move along, Lucresse found if she made up things it was easier than the truth and she could be who she wanted to be. It seemed they were always explaining their odd life and people in this era were of course very judgmental, so the name Trouble with the Truth. A comical and quirky book, “People can only tell the truth as they see it. And everyone sees it differently.”