Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Tru & Nelle by G. Neri

Most of us are acquainted with Truman Capote from the movie Capote and Harper Lee from To Kill a Mockingbird, but we don't know much about their early formative years. Many people are surprised to learn that Truman and Harper Lee were next door neighbors in Monroeville, Alabama. They were social misfits who connected through their love of detective stories such as Sherlock Holmes. Tru & Nelle by G. Neri is a middle grade fiction book based on the real-life childhood friendship and imaginations of Truman Capote and Harper Lee.

The author of Tru & Nelle, G. Neri is a children's author who has won many awards, among them the Coretta Scott King Honor for the book Yummy: The Last Days of  a Southside Shorty. Neri chose to write Tru & Nelle as fiction so that he could use the colorful characters, the Depression era, and the small Deep South town as part of the story.

I found this book to be a sweet story of Capote and Harper Lee. You will enjoy reading about Truman and Nelle's escapades in Monroeville. It is especially interesting to see how they formulated their love of mysteries, how they both became authors from their early experiences, and how some of the figures in their books were based on people in the town. There are some sad parts too, but they can be teachable moments for young people who don't know the history of the Jim Crow South. Tru & Nelle
Early Years in Monroeville
can be read by both youth and adults. The story is especially poignant because of Harper Lee's recent passing.
Later Years

If your interest is piqued by reading Tru & Nelle, The Virginia Beach Public Library has many books on both Harper Lee and Truman Capote. Harper Lee: A Twentieth Century Life by Kerry Madden and Real Courage: The Story of Harper Lee by Katherine Don are both Youth Biographies.   An Adult Non-fiction book which chronicles Truman's later years is, Truman Capote: In Which Various Friends, Enemies. Acquaintances, and Detractors Recall his Turbulent Career by George Plimpton. The Swans of Fifth Avenue by Melanie Benjamin is a current bestseller that is a fictionalized account of the years that Capote was at the top of the New York social ladder.

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