The Truth of Me - Patricia MacLachlan

The Truth of Me tells the story of Robbie, who loves spending time with his grandmother Maddy. Robbie loves the stories Maddy tells, and also how wild animals trust her enough to come right up to her. But Robbie has always felt as if something is missing in his life--his parents don’t always act like they love him. Maddy helps him understand that an experience his mother had long ago is at the heart of the problem in his family. With this knowledge, Robbie finds the courage to try to make things right. This poignant story celebrates how our unique “small truths” make each of us magical and brave in our own ways.

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Robbie and his dog, Ellie, are spending the summer at Grandmother Maddy's house. He's been having a tough time of things lately, struggling with self-confidence as well as feeling neglected by his parents. He feels they are too distracted with their careers, causing both to be rather dismissive with him. Robbie has always found comfort in Maddy's stories and easy-going nature, so this could be just the thing his mind needs.

 

Maddy's friend (and Robbie's doctor), Henry, also makes several appearances over the course of the story. Even if Robbie is not all that chatty about what's going on, Henry can still sense the hard time the poor kid is going through. Maddy and Henry team up and find ways to work with Robbie over the summer, patiently teaching him important, emotionally anchoring lessons about life, the most transformational being when Henry encourages Robbie to discover what his "small truths" about himself are.

 

My heart broke for Robbie, reading of how desperate he was to hear "I miss you", "thinking of you", anything from his parents. There are some sad conversations in the story but MacLachlan balances it nicely with a cozy, quiet feel to the rest of the scenes. There's just the right touch of fun and subtle humor to make this quick little read a comforting story to curl up with on the porch one lazy afternoon. There's also a sweet little Bridget Jones-esque moment when Robbie mentions to Maddy that Henry said he liked her just as she is and Maddy gets misty-eyed hearing this.