The Truth Commission

Paperback | May 2, 2017

bySusan Juby

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Open secrets are the heart of gossip—the things that no one is brave or clueless enough to ask. That is, except for Normandy Pale and her friends Dusk and Neil. They are juniors at Green Pastures Academy of Art and Applied Design, and they have no fear.

They are the Truth Commission.

But Normandy’s passion for uncovering the truth is not entirely heartfelt. The truth can be dangerous, especially when it involves her sister, Keira, her brilliant older sister, the creator of a best-selling graphic novel series, who has left college and come home under mysterious circumstances, and in complete silence.

Even for a Truth Commissioner, there are some lines that cannot be crossed …

This dryly funny, knife-sharp novel, written as "narrative nonfiction" by Normandy herself, features footnotes, illustrations and a combination mystery/love story that will capture readers from the first page.

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From the Publisher

Open secrets are the heart of gossip—the things that no one is brave or clueless enough to ask. That is, except for Normandy Pale and her friends Dusk and Neil. They are juniors at Green Pastures Academy of Art and Applied Design, and they have no fear. They are the Truth Commission. But Normandy’s passion for uncovering the trut...

SUSAN JUBY is the bestselling author of the internationally popular Alice MacLeod books—recently made into a television series—and the critically acclaimed novels Getting the Girl and Another Kind of Cowboy. Her work has won the Sheila A. Egoff Children’s Literature Prize, been selected as a Children’s Book Sense 76 Pick, a Kirkus Edit...

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:336 pages, 8.25 × 5.5 × 0.68 inPublished:May 2, 2017Publisher:PRH Canada Young ReadersLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0143189166

ISBN - 13:9780143189169

Customer Reviews of The Truth Commission

Reviews

Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great Book!!! *spoilers* The Truth Commission by Susan Juby. It is a quirky story told in a non-traditional and innovative way. It’s written as a non-fiction book, with plenty of footnotes, some drawings and illustrations. This just adds to the effect of the book. The main character Normandy Pale is telling about her life to her guidance councillor/writing professor and she has all these counter narratives in the story mostly told in the footnotes, and they are at most time highly inappropriate comments for a student to make to her teacher. Some examples of the footnote content: · “49. (in footnote) Which reminds me, I saw you and Mr. Wells talking in the parking lot after the riot. You laugh nicely together J J “ page 99 · “I was distracted from fully appreciating Mr. Wells’s commentary by my fervent wish.... 78 (footnote 78) That’s not just me sucking up in preparation for Mr. Wells to be the second reader of the project.” Page 162 · “Then I tried to focus on Mr. Wells’s lecture 81 (footnote 81) Which was excellent :) “ page 163 · “You could talk to someone at G.P. Our new guidance counselor is really good.’ 98 (footnote 98) That would be you, Ms. Fowler” page 207 · “...and my ability to cope started to slip away 106 (footnote 106) This was the point at which I went to your office and had that little meltdown. Sorry. And thanks. You are a very good guidance counselor as well as an outstanding teacher of writing.” Page 254 The footnotes really add so much to the story, a second narrative, which isn’t necessary to the main plot but adds so much it should not be missed. Normandy Pale goes to an arts school in Canada and has two best friends (Dusk and Neil) and they go to an arts school. She described Dusk mostly like this, throughout the book; “I know that thus far in this work I have presented Dusk as a) self-centered and b) kind of mean. She is both. I won’t lie” page 221 She also has a very famous sister who made a comic book series which basically makes fun of her entire family, it’s over exaggerated situations that have happened in the family to ridiculous and embracing points. She does not like these comics as shown here; (on talking about what she wants her sister to change) “4. when she is feeling more stable,tell her how I feel about being in her comics. 4a. If that goes well, ask her to consider killing off my character.” page 232 I really liked the character development in the book, at the start Normandy described Dusk really negatively because she was jealous of her and Neil’s relationship (Neil is a painter and painted Dusk a few times) but as soon as Normandy and Neil start dating she changes the way Dusk is described. I like the way Normandy is not afraid to voice her opinion on people or just be really funny. I also liked the ending of this book, it made the book seem real. The ending wasn't happy and was not necessarily a solution to any of the problems. In the end Normandy's sister used her and her reactions to terrible events that she said have happened to her. In reality her sister just wanted to write another graphic novel and needed material, and decided she was a writer and could make up her own narrative, she just needed her family to act it out so she could write about it. Her sister then describes some really disturbing images of Normandy in her graphic novel. This causes a rift between Normandy and her parents/family as her parents side with the sister. The ending is an unexpected twist.
Date published: 2015-05-14
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A Truthfully Great Read It has been three years since Susan Juby has published a young adult novel after writing her memoir (“Nice Recovery”) and two adult novels (“The Woefield Poultry Collective” (Canadian title)/”Home to Woefield” (US title) and its sequel “Republic of Dirt”). The return to young adult fiction and receiving a second novel published in 2015 from Susan Juby can only be considered a triumph and the canon of young adult writing is stronger for “The Truth Commission”. “The Truth Commission” is from Normandy ‘Norm’ Pale’s point of view and is told in epistolary form (like Susan’s “Alice, I Think” series) in a series of comedic journal entries. Normandy is writing an account of her and her friend’s project of a Truth Commission for her creative writing class’ final project. Normandy and her best friends Dusk and Neil confront those within their school, Greener Pastures (an art school in Nanaimo), with truths that would generally not be addressed directly or would be assumed or gossiped about. For example, did a fellow student have plastic surgery? Riding on the high of sharing truths and the bond that creates, the project becomes a school-wide revolution of truth asking and revealing. At the same time, Normandy is grappling with her family’s life that revolves around her sister’s prodigal artistic talent. Keira Pale has always been seen as a prodigy and treated as such especially after the publication of her graphic novel series which has exposed the privacy of her family members and forced Normandy into a peripheral and unflattering fame. Keira returns to the Pale household mysteriously from college and is disappearing for days at a time after admitting to Normandy that something happened between Keira and a teacher. Tension mounts as Normandy is stuck both having had her truths revealed, asking others to reveal theirs and keeping her sister’s secrets. Despite the potential overwhelming seriousness of the subject matter, Susan Juby’s novel is laugh-out-loud funny especially as Normandy and her friends’ truth revealing incites unexpected results (such as a feminist riot). Where other writers may have been quite heavy handed in dealing with the subject of the truth and how that intersects with things such as art, appropriation, self-expression and creativity, revealing and concealing, Susan Juby does so in a gentle way that allows the reader to raise and ponder these questions on their own. I can see this novel encouraging a lot of discussion on these issues and this novel being a success for book clubs or within schools and libraries. The question of who has the right to tell certain truths could be examined and batted back and forth for an entire meeting! One of the strengths of this book though is that Susan doesn’t force these intersections but respects that they occur. Susan’s skill in this genre is clear. Normandy is self-conscious and walks a fine line between her own awareness and lack of self-awareness which enables comedy to flower. Susan Juby has used this novel to showcase some features successful in her other novels such as the epistolary style mentioned above or the mystery elements of “Getting the Girl.” I was excited to get to know Normandy and despite having sat down initially for a chapter or so, ended up reading several chapters in one sitting. I was not upset at having sat and read for much longer than I intended and only regretted it was too late to finish the novel. Best of all, upon finishing the novel I discovered a second book set at Greener Pastures is in the works so there is more to look forward to. “The Truth Commission” ended up to me like discovering a new bakery and coming home with a box of treats, each bite more delicious than the last. Finding out there is another novel coming in the same setting is like finishing that box of sweets and planning my next visit with my sights set on my favourites from my first visit and optimism for new and equally as good sweets the second time around. I have already and will be recommending if not gifting this book to friends, family, librarians, teachers and those involved with book clubs. It is enjoyable, funny, thought-provoking and compelling to read.
Date published: 2015-04-23

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Editorial Reviews

“In a tell-all, socially networked world, balancing the right to know (and use) 'the truth' against the right to privacy is both confusing and challenging. Readers will root for these engaging characters to chart a successful course through these murky waters. Hilarious, deliciously provocative and slyly thought-provoking, Juby's welcome return is bound to ignite debate.” - Kirkus Review (starred review)“The narrative/book is smart, darkly funny, sad, and heartening as Normandy learns some hard truths, how to stand up for herself, and how to take charge of her own destiny. While there is no reconciliation in sight, there’s no doubt that the truth has set her free. A surprising, witty, and compulsive read.” - School Library Journal (starred review)“You know how we have terms like "Dickensian?" I vote that from here on in we should also have "Jubyesque," to describe something particularly funny, offbeat and original.” - Susin Nielsen, author of the Governor General Award-winning The Reluctant Journal of Henry K. Larsen