Book Review: The Truth: I’m Smart, I’m a Girl and I Know Everything by Dr. Barbara Becker Holstein

The Truth (I’m a girl, I’m smart and I know everything) by Dr. Barbara Becker Holstein is a little book that gives a lot to think about. Told through the diary entries of a young girl who keeps a fake diary for her parents to find while writing the truth in her real diary, The Truth seems even more universal because the reader never learns the name of the diarist. We read her entries for the day and are free to picture her in our own minds as we will.

The Truth lets us in on the thoughts of a 10-year-old who is still very much a child, but who is also growing up and not sure how to deal with the changes she’s going through. For instance, when she gets a crush on a boy in her class, it’s such a powerful feeling that she knows she will love him forever. Yet, she fantasizes that she could easily have lots of children and take care of them well because she takes such good care of her dolls.

You feel the ache of a child’s wanting to know about the changes that are in store for her, and her frustration that adults in her life think she’s too young to think or talk about the things she’s curious about. It’s a great reminder that our children want and need information about topics parents are often uncomfortable talking about, and how important it is to talk about them.

Moms and daughters will have lots to talk about if they read The Truth together: How do children feel when they hear their parents argue? When do they need to know about changes their bodies go through in adolescence? Why is it important to hear about these things from parents?

I was a bit surprised to discover that the diary entries were not written in current times, but as though the writer was growing up in the 1950s or 60s. References to comic books, I Love Lucy, dial telephones and Brownie cameras may be confusing to some girls. But that shouldn’t keep the book from being an interesting and quick read. And there’s a great list of questions for kids at the end that’s perfect to use in a mother-daughter book club meeting.

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