„Dellys trouble wasn’t mean. It always started with her thinking something would be fun and good. It always ended with somebody yelling (…). And there Delly’d be, wondering how something that had seemed so right could go so, so wrong.“ (page 1)
Delly is ten years old, has a lot of sisters and brothers and a big imagination. She creates her own world of words and adventures that the adults around her don’t understand. Only her little brother RB who loves Delly more then anything else in the world is always at her side. Delly loves to tell stories and mostly acts before thinking things through. This is why she gets in trouble a lot! But she has a big heart full of love to give although she doesn’t really know how to do it. Then she meets Ferris who's different: She is always on her own, doesn’t talk at all and hates to be touched. That gives Delly the opportunity to get to know a completely different world and learn what it means to have a friend and tell the truth without getting into trouble.
I have so much to say about this wonderful and special book and hope that I find the right words to express my opinion in a short review. With „True (…sort of)“ Katherine Hannigan wrote a book that isn’t only able to touch and enrich children but adults as well. Reading Dellys story made me happy and sad at the same time. It made me laugh out loud and cry silently a few pages later. It is the small things that make the book special:
Dellys imaginary words.
„baDellylloon - Delly so blown up with happiness she feels like a giant balloon“ (page 357)
The language - simple and appropriate for children - which gets under your skin immediately and creates an atmosphere, that fascinated and touched me from beginning to end.
„She put an arm across her mothers chest and pulled till they were tight together. And Delly was a tiny love shield, her warm softness all around Clarice so nothing bad could get to her.“ (page 355)
And last but not least the complex, realistic and imperfect characters , who are loveable all together. The book is mainly told from Dellys point of view, but there are a lot more characters for the reader - child or adult - to indentify with. Children who are not as wild and troublesome as Delly, can also indentify with Ferris, RB or the shy but ambitious basketball-playing Brud.
„Brud Kinney loved basketball. He played before the bus picked him up; he played at night with the porch light shining. He played all day, in his head, while his teachers talked. (…) Because what Brud Kinney wanted most was to play basketball like nothing nobody’d ever seen, only better.“ (page 42)
For the adults to identify with, there are Clarice and Boomer, Dellys parents, who do their best to raise their children although they don't have a lot of time for them. To get to know the characters and the story from Dellys point of view gives children the opportunity to find themselfs in her way of thinking and feeling and to share her imagination and love for adventures. On the other hand adults will learn a lot about childrens point of views and how much they can differ from our own.
„True (…sort of)“ made me want to hug every charakter, everyone around me and especially the author for creating a childrens book about truth, hope and how hard but wonderful it is to be a child. I recommend this book to every parent, teacher and adult: After reading it you will understand a lot more about our children. I also recommend it to the little Dellys, RBs, Bruds, Ferris and Gals out there. You are not alone, keep searching for the "hummin bin" inside of you and all those around you!