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Book Review: Tru
By m j . hollingshead
Last edited: Saturday, March 27, 2010
Posted: Sunday, June 15, 2008

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It is the weaving of reminiscence and creation developed in Tru's account that generates a touching sense of candor.


It is November 27, in the afternoon, we prepared to leave our bodies.

Some were cheating on their meds, Tru had seen them bartering in the hallways. It was Tru’s birthday, everyone was dressed in their best. Residents are there, Helen plays piano, Old Ed with the oxygen tubes in his nose and his tall tales, Alice and Tom the dancers, Agnes, Tru’s best friend.

The whole day shift came for the party. And then the dead came. Father, Brice, Tru’s mother, Madeleine, the regulars, shadowy, they came, they always came.

As Tru opened her gifts she thought about the men in her life, her Father, Brice, Father Still, her twin sons and Morrow, her grandson. The memories were not particularly happy.

Tru chronicles the life of Gertrude Hayes. She is a recluse living out her last days in a residential home. Agnes, Tru's one true friend gives Tru a journal for her birthday. At once the restless memories of Tru’s past crowd demanding that she face up to the recollections she wants to leave behind.

Tru’s story is told through her journal entries. We see her as a child, and we see the house built long ago by a long gone great grandfather. Tru decides to use her journal for recording her life record, she tells of misadventures, and her guilt about her family, the life incidents which led her to the point where she now is in her life.

Through her journal we see her father, he with a club foot who lost sons in a boiler accident at the paper mill. It was about that time that Tru first began seeing the dead. That was when Tru began fighting with her classmates, although they did not know why. At first they teased her, but after a time they left her alone and she became an outsider.

We meet the residents at the home and learn something of them through Tru’s journal. Tru takes the reader on a journey filled with recollections, and imagination and observation.

The dissimilar assortment of aged fellow residents are found in some of the entries while Tru's early years, some early misfortune along with a pregnancy begin to fill Tru’s thoughts and her journal. She had/has a delicate and somewhat inexplicable connection with her ghostly daughter, Maddie. All are set forth in the journal.

Poignant words and lines filled with traces of yearning and the probing all through the records of her past force Tru to remember what she does not want to recall.

Eric Melbye, an associate professor of English and Creative Writing at Miami University- Middletown, Ohio is a published writer with a number of literary journal entries.

His poetry and fiction are known, as are his online journals. In 2006 he co-edited Under Our Skin: Literature of Breast Cancer (The Illuminati Press) with Michelle Lawrence. Tru is Writer Melbye’s first novel.

The author has crafted a well written work told through the voice of Gertrude –Tru- Hayes.

Tru's account, a blend of imagined and remembered situations, much as we all experience, is presented with perceptive reason and a sense of humor that makes the reading all more realistic.

It is the weaving of reminiscence and creation developed in Tru's account that generates a touching sense of candor.

Maltreated, left alone for much of her life, often overlooked by those around her Tru creates a sense of self for herself based upon what the perceptions of her seem to be by others.

As we read the tale revolves and turns around on itself, until we are never sure, did the incident remembered so well actually take place, or, is it remembered but is not a memory.

Melbye is a skilful writer who adroitly weaves a tale that is sure to hook the reader from that opening line as Tru relates that they are preparing to leave their bodies, and holds reader interest tight right down to the closing paragraphs and we sit near the window with Tru as she holds her journal and the starlight maps lines on her face.

Happy to recommend.

Reviewed by Molly’s Reviews
molly martin

Product Details and Shipping Information from Amazon
Eric Melbye
• Paperback: 250 pages
• Publisher: Flame Books; First edition
• Language: English
• ISBN-10: 0955672503
• ISBN-13: 978-0955672507
• Product Dimensions: 7.7 x 5.1 x 0.7 inches
• Shipping Weight: 8.5 ounces

$17.99 In Stock. Ships from and sold by Gift-wrap available.




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Reviewed by Karen Vanderlaan 6/15/2008
a wonderfully written review-sounds wonderful
Reviewed by Regis Auffray 6/15/2008
This is a fine informative review, Molly; and it is very well-written. Thank you. Love and best wishes to you,


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