by Kate Reed Petty
Published by Hachette Australia
Publication Date: 11th of August, 2020
Australian RRP: $32.99
“After a college party, two boys drive a girl home: drunk and passed out in the back seat. Rumours spread about what they did to her, but later they’ll tell the police a different version of events. Alice will never remember what truly happened. Her fracture runs deep, hidden beneath cleverness and wry humour. Nick – a sensitive, misguided boy who stood by – will never forget.”
*This book contains mentions of sexual assault*
True Story is truly a unique reading experience, set out in narratives, excerpts and essay type chapters with two characters with questionable grasps on reality after so many knockdowns in life. There was a great deal of information that you had to assume was the truth but was also open to interpretation.
In 1999, Alice is taken home from a party in a very inebriated condition by two fellow high school boys. Alice can’t remember anything from their interactions but afterwards, they claim to have engaged in the sexual assault but then they later claim it was just a story. The effect and damage on Alice remain though, she doesn’t know what to believe and the events define her throughout her life.
I thought this book was brilliant. I love unreliable narrators, like with Lolita and My Dark Vanessa, you get the undeniable truth but so much is left up to wondering what is real and what is an exaggeration. That is not to say that True Story is anything like those books but the narration style is similar and I enjoyed that because I loved the other two books because of how torn you can be as a reader. What resonates for me in this book though is the pain and confusion she would have felt and the damage it caused over her life and her journey into adulthood.
The writing style of this book, using the screenplays and essays, was a great reading experience in itself because I enjoy anything that goes outside the norm of a usual novel. I think I agree with other reviewers that it was a little frustrating at times to feel like I didn’t know anything about the story or the “True Story” but maybe that is the point. I think by the end though it really came together and I enjoyed the experience as a whole that definitely made the entire book a worthwhile read.
(Thank you to Hachette Australia for a copy of this book for an honest review. True Story is out now in store and online!)