Give Me Truth by Bill Condon Random House (Woolshed Press) Young Adult Paperback rrp $18.95
David and Caitlin don’t know it, but they are living their lives side by side. And what better way to show this than a narrative that switches between the protagonists’ points of view?
The story begins with David. His family life is falling apart. Mum bundles David and his sister Allie into the car and heads for grandmother’s house. Caitlin’s story quickly follows. Her parents are fighting too.
David’s father is careening headlong towards a breakdown, dragging David with him. Caitlin must decide whether she is willing to forgive her father and rebuild their relationship.
When two groups of friends bump into each other for the first time, the boys decide to accompany the girls to a play audition. As the relationship between Caitlin and David’s best friend Lanny develops, the reader becomes dimly aware of an even more subtle thread. Cleverly mirroring the way in which the story is told, Caitlin and David are tied together by a clandestine family connection.
Give Me Truth is an example what Bill Condon does best – serious themes with a healthy dose of humour – kept real from a teenage perspective. Too often the ending of such a book is disappointing but not so here. There is no neat, tie-it-all-up happy-ending sell-out. But neither is this a dark, gloomy book. Life can be very difficult. But Lanny makes us cringe and then laugh with him. Brothers and sisters stick together. Friends understand. Ultimately, there is always hope.
The telling of the story in tag team by David and Caitlin creates a completely gender-bias free narrative. This is a book that will be equally enjoyed by both girls and boys.
I’ll admit it. I’m a fan and so are a number of my teenage friends. Give Me Truth is Condon’s best yet.