All the Truth that’s in Me by Julie Berry
Judith is an outcast in her village. Four years ago, Judith and her best friend, Lottie, disappeared from their small town of Roswell Station. Two years ago, only Judith returned, permanently mutilated, reviled and ignored by those who were once her friends and family. “Judith is 14 when she is abducted from her village. Imprisoned by her captor for two years, she returns home with her tongue cut out. Now 18, she is shunned by both family and neighbors, who insist on believing her attacker took “her maidenhood” and view her as a “fallen” woman.”(NY Times Review,November 2013) She is shunned and punished by her community. She can not speak the truth of what really happened and the judgmental community thinks the worst of her.
The village setting of this novel evokes the rigid religious communities of Colonial times, but Berry cleverly sets her story in an unnamed time and place so the protagonist’s anguish and the town’s mystery are the focus. But it does give you pause on the tyranny of a small community! Only Judith knows the truth of what happened to Lottie, but her muteness leaves her an outcast in the village, even from her own mother, and the truth stays bottled up inside her. This startlingly original novel will shock and disturb you; it will fill you with Judith’s passion and longing; and its mysteries will keep you feverishly turning the pages until the very last. Amazon
Only Judith knows the truth of what happened to Lottie, but her muteness leaves her an outcast in the village, even from her own mother, and the truth stays bottled up inside her. Told from Judith’s narrow, troubled perspective, the story unwinds in taut chapters that peel back what happened two years before and gradually allows Judith to find her voice again. The austerity of the village and its harshly judgmental inhabitants help sustain a mood of dread. Judith does find tenderness in surprising places, and these secondary characters relieve not just her isolation but also offer readers moments of fun and promise as well. Mostly, I waited for Judith to find her voice. That’s my two cents!