Love historical mysteries? Consider reading Julie Berry's latest YA novel. All The Truth That's In Me has a very colonial feel to it. Told in the first person, it tells a bittersweet story of a young woman, Judith Finch, who has endured much in her teen years. Though not as much as is at first feared. Days after a young girl's disappearance, Judith herself goes missing. One body is found, naked, in the river. The other remains a mystery--at least for two years. A tongueless Judith wanders back into the community after being gone for two years. She can't tell her story--or won't tell her story. So people make up their own stories about her. You might think Judith would be welcomed back, pitied; but the opposite is true. She's an outcast. No one knows for sure how tainted she may be from her experiences. But who would want to marry her now, not knowing? Who would want her to be friends with their daughters?
No one calls me by my name. No one calls me anything, save Darrel, who calls me Worm. Mother never really tried to stop him. When she calls me, it's "You, shuck these," "You, card that sack," "You grease this down," "You, watch the tallow pot." "You keep still." The warmth I remember in her eyes is gone, replaced with iron. Father is long-since dead, and the daughter she remembers is dead to her. She buries the name with the memory. No one calls me by my name. Younger children do not know it. I remind myself each day at sunrise, lest one day I forget. Judith is my name. (24-5)Her story is revealed, slowly. And it is told so beautifully, so compellingly. All The Truth That's In Me is a great mystery, a great coming-of-age story, a great story of friendship. I loved seeing Judith find her voice and tell her story. From start to finish, Judith's story is full of Lucas, the boy she's spent her whole life loving. In fact, the whole story belongs to him, in a way; he is the "you" she's addressing.
She told no one of my return for days, bound even Darrel to secrecy. When at last the secret could no more be hidden, she led me to the shed and said, "You've come back maimed. I leave it to God to judge what brought this upon you. But the village will fear you. They'll call you cursed. Some men may try to take advantage of you. I know my duty to my own flesh and blood, and I will protect you. But you'll mind me and behave as a maiden should. Utter one sound to our shame and you'll sleep here among the rakes and shovels." (48)
Then you appear, through the trees, guiding your mule as he pulls a tree limb. Like a soldier back from battle you fill my vision. You're a flood, a baptism I'd forgotten, and the force of you leaves me breathless. (120)I loved this one. I thought the narrative was beautiful, haunting, memorable. The book was not what I expected at all, based on the cover. It was so much better. This book deserves a cover that matches its genre.
© 2013 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews