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The Honest Truth: 01/04/17

The Honest Truth by Dan Gemeinhart

The Honest Truth by Dan Gemeinhart is about a boy in a losing fight with cancer and decided he'd rather climb Mt. Rainier with his dog. So he buys a ticket on Amtrak and back tracks from Seattle to mountain. Along the way he gets beat up and has all sorts of other bad things happen to him but he continues on.

The book has numerous positive reviews but from the very first chapter it just didn't work for me. First and foremost given how close the boy is to the mountain he wants to climb I find it extraordinary that he'd take a train so far out of his way. There are municipal buses that share overlapping routes that would have been cheaper and probably something he'd be more familiar with.

Then there are the bullies popping out of nowhere. Because of course kids instantly know when a kid from somewhere else is coming into their territory. Of course they are compelled to beat up all strangers. They are reacting to a need of the plot, not by any actual observed teen behavior.

Then there's the mountain itself. Although the thing is MASSIVE it's not as abandoned as it's portrayed. I doubt he'd get as far up the mountain as he did by himself. And yet, when things are finally dire enough that he literally needs rescuing, his dog is able to run back down the mountain to get help in time! Remember how I said Mt. Rainier is MASSIVE? Again, this is a plot driven convenience.

The Honest Truth reads like a late 1970s, early 1980s After School Special. If you like that sort of story you will like the book. If you want something with a little more realism, read something else.

Two stars

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