Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Nothing But the Truth, Avi

I feel bad admitting this, but this is actually the first book by Avi that I've ever read. I remember trying to struggle through The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle when I was in middle school, but I hated it; I hadn't picked up one of his books since. However, Coach Tucker recommended Nothing But The Truth to me, so I thought I'd give it a try.

I was pleasantly surprised!! The novel is about a boy named Phillip who gets suspended for - you won't believe this - humming along with the National Anthem as it plays each morning. Phillip maintains that he's just exercising his patriotic rights by singing along with the Anthem, but his teacher views it as violation of the rule, which states that students are to "stand in respectful silence," during the song's playing.

Phillip's suspension soon spirals into national news as people lash out against the teacher, blaming her for a decision that was really made by the school's assistant principal.

The book posed a really interesting question about which takes precedence: school rules or national pride? It really had me thinking, and I felt terrible for the teacher - I guess we tend to sympathize with those in similar situations :)

Also, the novel is written in various formats: some pages were memos from the principal, some were transcriptions of phone conversations; there were entries from Phillip's journal, newspaper articles, and even an excerpt from one of his English tests! This made the novel go by really quickly and kept my interest.

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