Okay. You know when you come across those books that, after finishing them, you can only think of them as something more than just a book? Like The Fault in Our Stars, or If I Stay. Those kinds of books that are just so much more than a story – the ones that you know will stay with you for the longest time. The ones where rating and reviewing them are really difficult.
Well, All the Truth That’s in Me is one of those books. One of those books that might not be perfect in every single way, might not be a shining five star, but it seriously amazing nevertheless. One of those books that has just wedged its way into your heart and mind, content to stay there for a long time, perhaps forever. One of those really superb and amazing books that makes you wonder how the author came up with the idea.
As I said, when you come across one of these books, it’s hard to write a review, because it didn’t make you feel like you were reading some fictional story. Descriptions, consistency, flow, plot, world building – all those things you normally touch on in reviews kind of fly out the door. But, since this was a review copy, I shall attempt to bring my thoughts on All the Truth That’s in Me together, and present them to you.
The world. The world inside All the Truth That’s in Me was incredibly realistic. Whilst there was no specific date given, I was thinking it was around the 1800s, due to the lack of any real technology regarding tools, the importance placed on morality and religion, and the interactions between the townspeople. The descriptions of places could have been a little more in depth, but I found myself in an extremely vivid world regardless of this. Every tree, every rock, every house was so clear in my mind, even if the exact details weren’t spelled out to me as a reader.
The characters. The characters in this book are very, very real. Again, you aren’t given too much about what they look like, but I still managed to have perfectly formed characters in my head. It must be a talent that Berry has – to give minimal descriptions that still somehow form incredible imagery in one’s mind.
Judith is one of the most interesting characters I have ever read about. Her internal monologue is completely directed towards Lucas, her love. So the whole book is written with ‘you’s, and describes everything in relation to Lucas a lot of the time. I loved this so much. I loved how, even thought she had no speech, Judith was constantly talking to Lucas. Constantly thinking about him, and worrying about him. Her love for Lucas was incredibly real, and incredibly heartbreaking, as well.
Everyone in the town thinks Judith lost her intelligence when she lost her tongue, and nothing could be farther from the truth. Judith sees and hears things that no one else does. Her internal monologue is highly insightful, and the fact that people think she is stupid is as far from the truth as anything can get.
Judith was held captive for two years of her life before returning to her hometown. We aren’t given a play by play of those two years, rather, given little bits of information weaved through the story in an awfully artistic manner. As a reader, you are left wondering exactly what happened, exactly what kind of man her captor was, what Judith truly saw and experienced in those two years. I enjoyed wondering, and hoping, and judging all at the same time. And when Judith finally reveals everything that happened, there is this sense of relief, and anguish, judgement, and sorrow all rolled into one.
Even though the entire book is written to Lucas, he isn’t in it all that much. I liked that. Sure, he is in it quite a lot, but the majority of his presence is through Judith’s observations, rather than interaction and conversation. But when they do converse and interact, my heart was jumping through hoops of happiness. Theirs is a relationship that you truly want – you want nothing more than those two to live happily ever after whilst reading All the Truth That’s in Me. Trust me on that one.
I could seriously just write for eons about the characters in this novel. About lovely and kind Maria who sees Judith when everyone else refuses to. About Judith’s mother, and how cruel and conflicted she is. Judith’s brother, who is sweet and self centred all at the same time. The schoolmaster who is crude and revolting in more ways than one. The quick to judge townspeople. Judith’s captor. Everyone. Every single person in this book is so full of life, so real, so complete. It is truly amazing.
The writing. The style that Berry has used throughout All the Truth That’s in Me is so very unique. It is written in four parts, and within these parts the ‘chapters’ range from a few sentences to a few pages. It is not conventional in any way, and I wasn’t entirely sure I could get used to this. I wondered if the right depth could be achieved through such short paragraphs, if I could immerse myself in the story with such short and choppy pieces. Well, I needn’t have worried. I finished All the Truth That’s in Me within a few hours. I couldn’t put it down, and have been as immersed as I was whilst reading this book only a few times in my life before.
This is one of the longest reviews I have ever written, and I hope it shows just how amazing I thought this book was. Again, it is one of those stories that is so much more than just a story. It is a heartbreaking account of a girl’s struggles and strengths. It is an exceptional novel, and one that I will remember for many years to come.
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