I had no idea that Truman Capote and Harper Lee grew up in the same small town and were friends. Truman had been sent to stay with his elderly relatives because his parents didn’t want him. He was an odd little duck in the south – dressed impeccably in white suits and fancy shoes and a couple of grades ahead of the other kids his age at school – but he and tomboy Nelle bonded over their love of Sherlock Holmes detective stories, and pretended to be detectives themselves. They need a mystery of their own to solve – and they get one when someone breaks into the local drugstore. This portrayal of small town life at the beginning of the Great Depression is fascinating and fun.
The plot is very similar to To Kill A Mockingbird. I didn’t do any research to see if it was historically accurate or not. My 11yo did not know who the characters were and had not read TKAM, and he enjoyed the antics of these two kids anyhow. The plot got a little dark at spots with mention of and dealings with reality. At the start of the book, I would have even recommended it to a younger age group as it was lovely and innocent but by the middle, it was very much an MG/YA novel. Tru and Nelle: A Christmas Tale will be published in November 2017 and I’ll be looking forward to see what their next adventure will be.
I borrowed this book from the Chicago Public Library to read as a bedtime story and to review here.
by Greg Neri
March 1, 2016