Nothing But the Truth: A Documentary Novel Book Poster Image

Nothing But the Truth: A Documentary Novel

(i)

 

Depicts high school with devastating accuracy.

What parents need to know

Positive messages

A novel about the importance of telling the truth.

Positive role models

The main character deliberately disrupts a class, and then lies about it.

Violence
Not applicable
Sex
Not applicable
Language

Infrequent mild to moderate swearing.

Consumerism
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this book depicts high school life with devastating accuracy, and uses an unusual, intriguing format. Teenagers easily understand the situation, recognize the characters, and enjoy the book -- even when it's required.

What's the story?

Philip Malloy, a freshman, causes a disturbance at school by humming the National Anthem to annoy his teacher -- and the minor incident turns into a national scandal when the teacher is accused of being unpatriotic. The tale is told through a series of journal entries, letters, and memos.

Is it any good?

QUALITY

Readers who pick up this book will be struck first by the unusual format; Avi calls this book "a documentary novel." It consists of a collection of memos, dialogues, diary entries, newspaper articles, letters, and transcripts of speeches and radio shows. Avi lets readers make their own judgments about what happens, but only the reader knows the whole story. Philip's fellow students easily figure out what really happens, and taunt him, punishing him more than the school authorities can.

Yet branding Philip as the only dishonest character won't work. Philip's parents go along with his lies to support him and look patriotic, instead of finding out what their son really needs. Because so few want to find the truth, Miss Narwin loses her career and Philip loses his friends and his dream. He's finally forced to tell the truth in the devastating last line of the book.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the effects of twisting the truth.

  • Many characters distort and disregard the truth to protect their own

  • interests.

  • Have you seen this happen in your life?

  • What happened?

Book details

Author:Avi
Genre:Coming of Age
Book type:Fiction
Publisher:Avon Books (HarperCollins)
Publication date:January 1, 1991
Number of pages:212

This review of Nothing But the Truth: A Documentary Novel was written by

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are conducted by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

Find out more

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

About Our Rating System

The age displayed for each title is the minimum one for which it's developmentally appropriate. We recently updated all of our reviews to show only this age, rather than the multi-color "slider." Get more information about our ratings.

Great handpicked alternatives

For kids who love high school drama

Top advice and articles

What parents and kids say

See all user reviews

Share your thoughts with other parents and kids Write a user review

A safe community is important to us. Please observe our guidelines

Teen, 15 years old Written bymarialeaschad February 9, 2009
Parent Written by1194801 December 8, 2011

communication

Parents need to keep OPEN COMMUNICATION REGARDING SCHOOL OF THEIR CHILDREN. Very important so children will know to come home and tell their experiences regarding their school day, no matter how mi nute it sounds
What other families should know
Educational value
Adult Written byamomtoo February 4, 2010

Wow!

Younger kids will probably not get the meaning of this book. How even stretching or not telling the whole truth can have devestating consequences. It's also a book about accepting responsibility for your own actions. I really enjoyed this book. I think it is a must read for middle school and up students. A good reminder for adults, too!
What other families should know
Too much swearing

Poll

Did our review help you make an informed decision about this product?

Family Media Agreement