Title: Tru & Nelle
Synopsis: Long before they became famous writers, Truman Capote (In Cold Blood) and Harper Lee (To Kill a Mockingbird) were childhood friends in Monroeville, Alabama. This fictionalized account of their time together opens at the beginning of the Great Depression, when Tru is seven and Nelle is six. They love playing pirates, but they like playing Sherlock and Watson-style detectives even more. It’s their pursuit of a case of drugstore theft that lands the daring duo in real trouble. Humor and heartache intermingle in this lively look at two budding writers in the 1930s South.
Huge thank you to Raincoast for this ARC!
I admit, my knowledge of both Harper Lee and Truman Capote is quite limited. I’ve read both their acclaimed works and enjoyed them, but I never knew the true extent of their friendship until I had read Tru & Nelle. I had not watched Capote (though I’m starting to think I should check it out), but taught me more about the pair then I knew prior.
This is a fictionalized book based on the friendship of Truman Capote and Harper Lee during their time in Monroeville, Alabama. This is a middle grade novel, though I question how many middle graders would know who either of these famous writer’s are. Still, it reads like what you would expect for a historical middle grade novel — it’s a tale of two best friends getting into a lot of mischief and mayhem, and having a glorious summer doing it. Both Tru and Nelle are delightful characters, and if I’m being honest, they made me laugh out loud quite a bit!
This book looks at issues of racism and does so thoughtfully. Especially in the ending section with Truman’s birthday where the KKK end up picking on a young boy. It reminded me of another book I had read in how it handled this issue, Stella by Starlight by Sharon M. Draper. Issues of racism are shared in a thoughtful and intelligent way, without making younger reader feel as it’s not something they’d be able to understand. There’s a delightful simplicity in the storytelling in Tru & Nelle, and I really liked that about the story. It felt laid back and homey, and it made for a fun experience.
The novel itself is quite short with additional short stories tucked in at the end. I wasn’t as in love with the short stories at the end, but I did love the additional historical information that G.Neri included at the end of the text involving the depth of research, and the biographical information surrounding his protagonists. I found it to be very fascinating to read right after completing the novel.
Tru & Nelle is a delightful middle grade read with a lot of heart and soul. It’s fun, hysterical and thoughtful. I couldn’t put it down once I started reading it, and while I wasn’t huge on the short stories, the core novel shines from beginning to end. This novel is both great for middle grade lovers, as well as adults who are interested in the lives of Truman Capote and Harper Lee.