What Is the Premise of "Nothing But the Truth" by Avi?


Quick Answer

"Nothing But the Truth" by Avi is about a freshman boy, Philip Malloy, whose dislike for his English teacher, Miss Narwin, leads to a national media outcry when he hums the national anthem during her class. The novel touches on themes of freedom, fairness and the will of the masses.

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Full Answer

Philip's small infraction of breaking his school's silence policy during class and being punished accordingly quickly spirals into a media feeding frenzy with major repercussions for Miss Narwin, Philip, his family and the school. The novel presents all sides of the argument, demonstrating that a situation presented by the media as black and white, with Philip as the good guy and Miss Narwin as the bad guy, actually has many shades of gray. "Nothing But the Truth" is a warning that shows how fast a small, private rebellion can spin out of control when the public becomes involved.

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