Monday, August 06, 2018

Children's Book Review: The Truth as Told by Mason Buttle

by Mollie McFarland, Springville Road Regional Branch Library

The Truth as Told by Mason Buttle
Leslie Connor

Middle school student Mason Buttle has lived an unlucky life. And not the normal pre-teen misfortunes like pop quizzes and lunchroom food. Really bad stuff. His mom died when he was really little, his family had to sell off most of their orchard, his house is falling apart, he isn’t good at reading and writing, he’s the biggest kid in his class, he’s always sweaty, and his best friend Benny died on his family’s orchard one year ago. Mason was the last person to see Benny alive and the police want to know everything about the day he died. It’s like they think he did it! Mason wants to help, of course he does, but he doesn’t think quickly or clearly. To make matters worse, he is bullied by the kids in his neighborhood and he doesn’t have a single friend. Until one day, he meets a new kid named Calvin. Mason and Calvin band together to outwit their bullies, make a secret fort underground, and solve the mystery of Benny’s death. With the support of a friend, Mason finds the strength to confront a tragedy and find redemption.

As an adult reader, I found the book stunning. It was full of truth, humor, tragedy, and goodness and the characters came to life from the first page. I think there is something for readers of all ages to appreciate. There were elements of mystery and adventure that would be compelling for younger readers, and the complexity of the characters and subject matter made it a pleasure for experienced readers. Mason tells his story from a first person point of view. His patience, loyalty, compassion, and suffering offers an enlightening glimpse into the experience of a struggling kid with learning disabilities. I think it would make a great recommendation for students who enjoy books like Wonder by R.J Palacio. This book moved me to laughter and tears in equal measure and I felt like a better person for having read it.

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