What Is the Book "Nothing but the Truth" About?


Quick Answer

"Nothing but the Truth: A Documentary Novel" is about a New Hampshire boy who gains national attention after being suspended from school for humming the national anthem during class. The 1992 young adult book was written by American author Edward Irving Wortis, who is better known by the pen name "Avi."

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Full Answer

"Nothing but the Truth: A Documentary Novel" is a series of journal entries, memos, letters and dialogues that tell the story of Philip Malloy, a ninth-grader who is obsessed with making the track team at a high school in New Hampshire. After three days of humming the national anthem during class despite being asked not to, Malloy is sent to the vice principal by his teacher, Margaret Narwin. Malloy is suspended from school, but tells his parents he was singing -- rather than humming -- the song. His father becomes outraged that his son is punished for being "patriotic."

A newspaper article written about the incident gains national attention, and controversy ensues. Malloy eventually transfers to a private school, and Narwin resigns from her teaching position. At the end of the novel, it is revealed that Malloy never actually knew the words to the national anthem. The critically-acclaimed novel won a 1992 Newbery Medal and was later adapted into a play.

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