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Nothing But the Truth by Avi

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Meghan Donohue

on 17 October 2014

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Transcript of Nothing But the Truth by Avi

Nothing but the truth by Avi
Author Avi writes this novel like a documentary or collage, layering a variety of different types of texts: letters, conversations, memos, and newspaper clippings.
The author pursued the replica of "living newspaper" - at the time of the 1930s, this method of theater was advanced and evolved to exaggerate public problems in an unconventional way form, using conversations, discussions, and discourse.
Nothing But The Truth
is a documentary-style book that expresses the simple, and difficult ways of telling the truth and focuses on such controversies among teachers, school systems, and students; and the exploitation of strong emotional issues in the media by politicians.
Philip Malloy
Philip is a typical student who is just starting his first year of high school. He is a runner who hopes to make the track team and is imaginative for his age, but for most of the time, lacks focus in English. Occasionally, he uses his charisma and charm on girls, friends, and even teachers, rather than using his bright intellect. Every now and then, Philip is strongly focused on what's important to him, but Miss Narwin, on the other hand, sees him as a lazy student who requires more schoolwork.
Margaret Narwin
- Unlike Philip Malloy, Miss Narwin is a kind-hearted, likable teacher. She is adored by various teachers and her students, except Philip. Miss Narwin has been teaching at the Harrison School District for over twenty-one years and is a respected English teacher. Once Philip is switched into her homeroom, problems begin for both of them.
Minor Characters
Dr. Joseph Palleni - assistant principal at Harrison High.

Bernard Lusner - Philip's original homeroom teacher; has a very silly approach to teaching

Allison Doresett - a ninth grader who Philip has a crush on and wants to impress

Dr. Gertrude Doane - principal of Harrison High.

Dr. Albert Seymour - superintendent of schools in Harrison, New Hampshire.

Coach Jamison - Philip's track coach.
Minor Characters Cont.
Susan Malloy - Philip's mother; afraid of his well-being and his future. She has a big understanding of the situation.

Benjamin Malloy - Philip's father; a worrisome businessman who had a crushed dream of running for the Olympics, but has given a second chance because of Philip.

Ted Griffen - neighbor of the Malloys who eventually runs for the school board.

Jennifer Stewart - education reporter for the Manchester Record.

Jake Barlow - radio talk show host who talks about Philip's patriotism complication.
Nearly all of the events take place in the town of Harrison, New Hampshire, at Harrison High, which is made to represent a regular, ordinary American school. Philip discovers that it is very simple to get good grades in every subject, but only when Miss Narwin is not in the way. Not only does he face problems in school, but at home, too, where he also bends the truth when he talks to both his mother and father.
The novel centers around a disagreement between a student and teacher. The conflict gets worse as the truth gets twisted and a seemingly minor incident gets taken to an epic level.

Choices and Consequences:
In the beginning, Philip cannot guess that his behavior ultimately will affect himself and others. As the story unfolds, the author demonstrates clearly that the choices made by Philip and by other characters do have consequences, and that the consequences of thoughtless choices often are painful.
Pay Attention to
The Meaning of Truth:
The title of the novel suggests that truth—its nature, its interpretation, its power—will lie at the heart of Philip Malloy’s story.
As the novel progresses, however, we see just how difficult it can be to separate facts
from opinions, to screen out personal bias—in short, to pin down the truth.

The Power of Communication:
The structure of the book
demonstrates the power of communication. Instead of sharing a standard narrative, the author presents a series of documents—letters, diary entries, transcripts of telephone calls, newspaper articles, and so on. As you read think not only about the story but about ways in which information is communicated.
Patriotism or Practical Joke?
Philip's Diary Entries
"Winter term exams next week. Hate them. Studying is so boring! I read the biology book for about twenty minutes. Then I realized I wasn't reading." (pg. 9)

"I just realized two things that make me want to puke. Track practice starts tomorrow and I'm not on the team. Also, I start homeroom with Narwin!!! Can't stand even looking at her. I have to find a way to get transferred out." (pg. 38)

"Today was rotten. Nothing was right. I felt like punching Narwin in the face. It all just stinks." (pg. 55)
"This highly original novel emerges as a witty
satire of high school politics. It is clear that Avi is attuned to the modern high school scene. With remarkable insight, he conveys the flaws of the system while creating a story that is both entertaining and profound. "

-Publishers Weekly
"A powerful, explosive novel that involves the reader from start to finish."

-The Horn Book (starred review)
"An excellent and thought-provoking novel written by a well-known and respected author. It will make readers think about what they read in the papers, see on TV, and hear on the radio."


"Avi's imaginative and innovative style and his focus on substantive issues have earned critical acclaim and, more important, found an ethusiastic readership among children and adolescents."

-The New York Times
Margaret Narwin's Letters
"But this Phillip -an only son, by the way, which may be the problem- is only a middling student, and it's a shame. A nice-looking boy. A boy I like. Intelligent. With real potential. Perhaps that why he irritates me so- for he shows no desire to strive, to make sacrifices for the betterment of others, the way we were taught. And, oh my, Anita, so restless! Worst of all, like so many of them, he exhibits no
desire to learn. No ambition at all!

Five Things You Want To Know About Philip Malloy
1.) One of Harrison High's best runners and wants to make the track team.

2.) Doesn't like to try especially hard.

3.) Enjoys causing a distraction or getting a laugh.


5.) AND ENGLISH TEACHERS!!! (Miss Narwin is one of them.)
Full transcript