Truth or Dare
Bill Konigsberg’s new novel THE PORCUPINE OF TRUTH, is the meeting point between all the heart and sentiment David Leviathan has to offer and the crazy fun road trip featured in Libba Bray’s GOING BOVINE. This book is filled with humor, sadness, and truth. Beyond all else, the words are true. The tiny porcupine on the cover dares readers NOT to smile and enjoy this contemporary story of discovery, belief, forgiveness, and friendship.
We’re introduced to Carson Smith, a seventeen year old who’s been transplanted from the busy streets of NYC to the sleepy town of Billings, Montana. With a dying father he hasn’t seen in years, Carson is forced to come face to face with his past and the possibilities for his future. Because Carson’s grandfather left his dad in much the same he’s been abandoned most of his life. Though clouded in humor and hilarious sarcasm, Carson’s feelings are real and true.
The story is made even better when Carson meets his first best friend, Aisha. Together they take a road trip with the Porcupine of Truth as their mascot and the pain of their pasts between them. But it’s not as if that is the only thing to carry the reader through this story. Facing the mystery of his grandfather’s disappearance, Carson is forced to face what it means to truly forgive and have faith. Even if it’s not in “the Jesus.” Crossing the country in a Neon with tunes and time to tie them together, Carson and Aisha realize that the even the most mundane moments can mean something.
What begins as a comical meet and greet at a zoo, into an instantaneous crush, to an amazing friendship built on trust and understanding, is the summer that Carson Smith never imagined when he left his world behind. Bill Konigsberg brings a cast of flawed and damaged people trying to put the pieces of their lives back together without always knowing it. And he does so in a way that never feels forced but rather, it’s filled with beautiful characterization and descriptions of life in all of its confusing, confounding, utterly amazing, truthfulness.
Bringing attention to what it feels like on the “outside,” of life, Koenigsberg brings us a diverse book that is filled with issues important to our world such as stereotypes, racism, inequality, AIDS, alcoholism, and what it means to be young and different. Carson embraces the LGBTQ community and finds sanctuary with a best friend, and a strangers that become family along the way.
For readers of contemporary realistic fiction that want a story filled with fun, laughter, and life’s most endearing moments, I dare you to pick up your copy of THE PORCUPINE OF TRUTH today.