Title: The Truth as Told by Mason Buttle
Author: Leslie Connor
Genre: Realistic Middle-Grade Fiction
Number of Pages: 352
The Truth as Told by Mason Buttle is a sweet-natured MG novel with a memorable protagonist, and despite having it’s share of flaws I found it to be an emotionally satisfying journey. Mason is a big, learning disabled boy who sweats all the time and is bullied by his peers (he reminded me a little bit of the main character in Freak the Mighty by Rodman Philbrick, but Mason is more endearing.)
Mason’s best friend died in a tragic accident and people suspect he might have done something to cause the boy’s death, but Mason doesn’t understand peoples’ distrust of him. Mason has a teacher who’s very supportive of him and she lets him use a voice recognition device to tell his story, since he can barely read or write. He also becomes friends with Calvin, an eccentric kid who helps him turn an old shed into the ultimate clubhouse. However, when Calvin goes missing Mason is forced to face his personal demons.
Even though I thought he was a little too perfect at times, I really enjoyed Mason’s character and his unique way of seeing the world. The other characters (including the adults) were also believable, even though the bullies’ dialogue tended to be a little goofy at times. My main criticism of this book is that it was too sentimental- it wasn’t a huge issue for me, but it could have used to have a little more edge considering the themes that were being portrayed.
I loved the dog, Moonie, and Mason’s relationship with him- he was a delightful addition to the story and the situation with Moonie’s owners was interesting. Mason felt a little bit too naïve at times- he was ‘different,’ but not developmentally disabled and you’d think he’d be a little bit quicker on the uptake. It also bugged me that the book was so sympathetic towards the main bullies’ friend Corey. What he did was terrible too! Overall I really enjoyed this novel, though. It’s one of those books where the strength of the main character and their voice carries the story.
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