Book Review: A Truth Worth Tellin’

Author: Toni Teepell

Publisher: Ramsay Publishing, 2009

My Rating: A

My friend Molly, one of The Bumbles, and I each won a copy of this book from Kaye, the Pudgy Penguin. I really loved Kaye’s review (here) and the guest post (here) from the author, so I felt lucky to win the book. So did Molly. We agreed to read the book together and share our thoughts with you. Today I am sharing my review of the book. Tomorrow you can read our conversation with the author on both my blog and Molly’s (HERE).


Twelve-year old Maggie knows she shouldn’t lie, but sometimes she can’t help it. The truth about her mother is embarrassing. It’s easier to say her mother is away helping a family member than to admit she’s in a mental hospital.

When her mother is home, it’s still hard to explain her behavior. Maggie’s mother is schizophrenic, so some days there will be the “good mama” and some days the “crazy mama.”

Maggie has made one good friend, Samantha. But, Sam has a similar problem. Her mother is the “drunk mama” who beats her daughter when she’s had too much to drink.

We meet the two girls over the course of a summer in the early 1960s. They live in a very small town in Louisiana. Maggie narrates the story, and we see, through her eyes, how she and Sam are forced to cope with very difficult situations. There are a few helpful adults, especially Maggie’s dad. As Maggie describes the events of the summer, you’ll agree with me that this is a pivotal year for both girls.

What I Liked:

  • This could have been a depressing story but it’s just the opposite. It’s inspirational. Maggie has a good value system and a strong faith, although she questions her faith during the summer’s events.
  • I loved these two little girls. They have a sweet toughness to them and they’re also funny. You’ll love their scheme to grow breasts (it involves banana moon-pies) and you’ll laugh at their attempt to catch buzzards.
  • The subject of the mother/daughter relationship was important but it was balanced in this heartwarming tale of unconditional love.

What I Didn’t Like:

  • I liked it all. This is a solid, well-written story.


  • Yes, if for no other reason than to meet Maggie. If you loved CeeCee in Saving CeeCee Honeuycutt, by Beth Hoffman, you’ll also love Maggie. Why is it that southerners can tell the most touching stories involving children?

I’m looking forward to sharing our conversation with Toni Teepell with you here on this blog and on The Bumbles Blog. Be sure to come back tomorrow.

A Truth Worth Tellin’is available in paperback and on Kindle. Also check your local library.

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9 Responses to Book Review: A Truth Worth Tellin’

  1. I love winning books that turn out to be great. So often it doesn’t work out that way!

  2. kaye says:

    how fun for you and Molly to both read and review this book. Sounds like it was good. I’ll check her review out tomorrow. have a good day.

  3. This sounds like a wonderful book! I think it’s time we get past the stigma on mental illness and maybe books like this will help. I did love CeeCee, so I think I need to check this book out!

  4. Martha says:

    I’ve sworn off books that are depressing for depressing sake. I’m glad to hear this is an uplifting and sometimes humorous story. I look forward to reading this book.

  5. Staci says:

    I want to read this one!! Sounds like I would really like those girls and I can relate to the breast thing. I spent months after reading “Dear God, It’s Me Margaret” doing the ‘I must, I must, I must increase my bust’ exercises!! 😀

  6. Tami says:

    This story sounds fascinating but I probably would have passed it by because it also sounded sad and depressing. Thanks for letting me know that it’s uplifiting instead. I’m looking forward to your author interview.

  7. I am so glad you posted this today; starting Wednesday I’m taking a few days of blogging time-off. I love this review and would hate to have overlooked the author interview.

    I usually love any good coming-of-age story — and pretty much any good Southern novel, so this is a must-read for me.

  8. stacybuckeye says:

    Comparing Maggie to CeeCee has sold me on the book!

  9. kaye says:

    So glad you enjoyed the book, Margot. I loved it and thought Toni did an amazing job bringing Pearl, LA and the characters to life. Your comparison to Ceecee is spot on. Good job!

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