The Truth as Told by Mason Buttle by Leslie Connor
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
A mystery, told to us by Mason Buttle. The mystery is about Mason's friend, Benny, who died just over a year ago.
Mason tells the story. He can tell a story but he's not that good at actually reading or writing. What becomes clear to the reader is that Mason has a lot going on, and has lost a lot the last few years. His mother died, his best friend died; his uncle sold a lot of the family apple orchard, so they have less property and aren't working the property they have; the house is falling down around Mason, his grandmother, his uncle, and the young woman his uncle has invited into their home.
Mason is goodhearted -- almost too kind, because he doesn't quite comprehend that the boys at school who bully him are pretty terrible and are being horrible to him. It was painful to read Mason not realize this -- and painful when Mason finally realized just how terrible they are.
That, though, was balanced by the good: Mason's joy at finding a new friend. A supportive teacher at school. And his family coming together, getting out of their joint depression, in a realistic and hopeful way.
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