Friday, August 28, 2015

The Honest Truth by Dan Gemeinhart

The Honest Truth,9780545665735After reading R.J. Palacio's Wonder I thought that I would be hard-pressed to find a middle grade novel that would affect me as profoundly as that one did. Boy was I wrong. The Honest Truth moved me to tears on a few occasion and is a fine debut novel indeed.

It is always terrible to read about someone suffering from an incurable disease.. When the someone is a kid however it is many times worse. Books such as Wonder feature the protagonist having to deal with the quotidian effects on their family. Where Gemeinhart's novel differs from those is that the protagonist takes his destiny into his own hands.

Mountains symbolize so many things for different people. Some folks like the peace and serenity. Others ponder their life and still others think of the sense of accomplishment. For Mark, the protagonist of the story, climbing Mt. Rainier will perhaps be all of those things as well as being one of the few things that he will have control over.

Running away is not advisable even if one were a healthy kid much less one suffering with a serious illness. For Mark, a young boy travelling in harsh terrain in the dead of winter, the journey is even more treacherous. Armed with meager supplies, his trusty pooch Beau and an unshakable will he presses on. As a parent, I could well understand how worried his parents were but at the same time after learning about all he had gone through in his short life I was definitely rooting for him to complete his quest.

This novel is a good story in that it does not have a happy ending in the true sense of the term. Also readers of different ages may derive differing meanings from the text. The novel made me ponder my own life and my many responsibilities. I admire Mark for throwing caution to the wind because sometimes in life one must take risks in order to achieve great things. The Honest Truth  is a fine read for grades 4 and above.


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