The Porcupine of Truth
The author of OPENLY STRAIGHT returns with an epic road trip involving family history, gay history, the girlfriend our hero can't have, the grandfather he never knew, and the Porcupine of Truth. Carson Smith is resigned to spending his summer in Billings, Montana, helping his mom take care of his father, a dying alcoholic he doesn't really know. Then he meets Aisha Stinson, a beautiful girl who has run away from her difficult family, and Pastor John Logan, who's long held a secret regarding Carson's grandfather, who disappeared without warning or explanation thirty years before. Together, Carson and Aisha embark on an epic road trip to find the answers that might save Carson's dad, restore his fragmented family, and discover the "Porcupine of Truth" in all of their lives.

The Porcupine of Truth Details

TitleThe Porcupine of Truth
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseMay 26th, 2015
PublisherArthur A. Levine books
Rating
GenreYoung Adult, Lgbt, Realistic Fiction, Fiction, Contemporary

The Porcupine of Truth Review

  • Bill
    January 1, 1970
    I wrote it!
  • Amanda
    January 1, 1970
    So. Fuck Carson. Seriously, fuck that asshole. He's the kind of jerkoff that would insist that the A in lgbtiqa stands for ally. He's the kind of douche who would be upset that there was no space saved for him in a feminist space. He's gross. His inner thoughts (and boners) for his friend are fucking gross. I suffered through this book to see if the text ever dealt with the fact that the protagonist was fucking gross. And. It did not. At the very end (the last fifty pages?) when Carson's grandfa So. Fuck Carson. Seriously, fuck that asshole. He's the kind of jerkoff that would insist that the A in lgbtiqa stands for ally. He's the kind of douche who would be upset that there was no space saved for him in a feminist space. He's gross. His inner thoughts (and boners) for his friend are fucking gross. I suffered through this book to see if the text ever dealt with the fact that the protagonist was fucking gross. And. It did not. At the very end (the last fifty pages?) when Carson's grandfather's boyfriend showed up, things got a little better? But mostly, his grandfather fell into the same tropes you often see with cis white gay men. So basically, fuck this book if you aren't a white cis boy. Okay, I'm pretty sure I'm gonna get some blowback on my hatred of this book, so let me break down what made me uncomfortable. A) The way Carson thinks about Aisha. Aisha is a lesbian, yes. So all of Carson's creepy "Ooh, but we could be boning if only she wasn't into giiiiiiiirls", was fucking gross. Even if Aisha was bisexual, just being interested in men doesn't mean that she'd be into Carson. So basically, he was five seconds away from whining about being friendzoned. But also, every time he thought about Aisha sexually, without any accompanying guilt, or weird feelings made me feel physically nauseous. He seriously thought if Aisha was made straight, he could date her, and wished for it without anything in the text stating that wasn't okay. B) Carson is incredibly self centered. He does all sorts of things without ever thinking about how that could make another person feel, and again, the text does not punish him for it, nor does it made any sort of expression that is wrong. He fucking makes a joke about Aisha having to put out to have a place to sleep. I guess the audience is suppose to laugh at that, but FUCKING POOR TASTE YOU FUCKING DICK. Rape jokes aren't fucking funny. And if Aisha has been sleeping on the street, she's probably been raped, or threatened with it before. It was gross, and again, not addressed in the text. C) I'm not arguing that teenage boys aren't fucking gross. However, that doesn't mean you have to normalize it. I could handle Carson being a fuckboy, but only if the text didn't give it tacit approval. Basically, if this book had been mostly about the end, dealing with new family members, and changing beliefs, I could have been into. Instead, I felt miserable and ill and did not want to finish. Two stars because I liked the ending. Though, to be honest, subject to change. Depends on how I feel in the morning.
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  • Kaje Harper
    January 1, 1970
    I loved my last read from this author, Openly Straight. This book took longer to hook me in, but I did enjoy it, and there were some nicely emotional moments, especially towards the end.The narrator, Carson, has come with his mother to Billings, Montana, to spend the summer caring for the father he hasn't seen since he was three. His father is dying of the complications of alcoholism, and one of the things that the dad harks back to when he becomes emotional is the loss of his own father, who di I loved my last read from this author, Openly Straight. This book took longer to hook me in, but I did enjoy it, and there were some nicely emotional moments, especially towards the end.The narrator, Carson, has come with his mother to Billings, Montana, to spend the summer caring for the father he hasn't seen since he was three. His father is dying of the complications of alcoholism, and one of the things that the dad harks back to when he becomes emotional is the loss of his own father, who disappeared when he was a teenager. Then, in a box of old papers, Carson finds proof that his grandfather had still been in contact with his grandmother, getting a divorce from her a year after his father was told he'd vanished without a trace. The mystery is something for Carson to latch onto in his adrift summer. And the thought of bringing a living father back to his father, giving the man he's just reconnected with and is losing a valuable gift, obsesses Carson.His summer looks up immeasurably when he meets Aisha, a beautiful girl who is homeless, and to whom he is instantly drawn. They have similar non-sequitur off-the-wall senses of humor, which they use to avoid being serious. Carson offers her a place to live temporarily, and finds his first true friend. He fantasizes about having found someone to love romantically, until she reveals that she was kicked out of her home for being caught with her girlfriend. Carson's budding romance has a serious flaw, but the friendship blossoms, and with her help he sets off on a quest to find his grandfather.I've read a few reviews that disliked the fact that Carson continues to fantasize about Aisha potentially developing feelings for him, even after he finds out she's a lesbian. Or that take his continued teen-boy reactions to her looks as creepy and shallow. I thought that it was realistic and in a way brave of the author to make Carson not the perfect straight sidekick. How many stories of gay boys lusting after their straight best friends do we read, and sympathize with the poor guy's impossible desires? Why would it be any different for a straight kid to keep lusting after the gay girl, just because he knows she isn't likely to return it? To fantasize about her discovering she's bi after all, and falling for him? This is just the mirror image. I'd bet Konigsberg knew he'd catch a little flak about that, but it made me believe in Carson more. The end is conveniently rounded off, and yet it was also the point where I felt the emotions of this tale the most. Good endings are not always perfect endings, and I was happy with the way doors that closed led to windows that opened. An interesting book about families and LGBT and trying to make connections across the generations.
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  • destiny ☠ howling libraries
    January 1, 1970
    Assigned reading for MLIS 7421: Multicultural Youth Literature.Wow, this is, like... literally one of the worst things I have ever seen win an award in my life. I am completely baffled as to how this book won the 2016 Stonewall YA Award, for a lot of reasons:1. The protagonist isn't even queer. His friend is a lesbian. His friend who we watch the narrator hypersexualize and objectify every five pages.2. The narrator cannot seem to go a single chapter without talking about his dick, and how every Assigned reading for MLIS 7421: Multicultural Youth Literature.Wow, this is, like... literally one of the worst things I have ever seen win an award in my life. I am completely baffled as to how this book won the 2016 Stonewall YA Award, for a lot of reasons:1. The protagonist isn't even queer. His friend is a lesbian. His friend who we watch the narrator hypersexualize and objectify every five pages.2. The narrator cannot seem to go a single chapter without talking about his dick, and how everything his friend does gives him a boner. If I'd had to sit through one more mention of it or one more dick joke, I was going to chuck this book across my living room.3. The writing is horrible. It's meant to be funny and the protagonist is supposed to be this super witty improv genius, but he's not funny, literally nothing he says or does is charming or amusing in the slightest, and whenever he's not thinking about his dick or how hot his new friend is, he's literally thinking to himself, "What can I say that's funny?" over and over. No joke, in one chapter, there are three different occasions where he gets upset because he isn't part of a conversation and he literally narrates that he's desperately trying to think of something hilarious so he can be the center of attention. It's awful. Awful. Literally one of the worst narrators I've ever read.I can't even form a proper review for this. I refuse to try. I made it through about 150 pages before I slammed it shut and typed this up. I can most assuredly say that I will not be picking up anything else by this author, nor would I ever recommend this book to anyone.
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  • Kim
    January 1, 1970
    Don't you hate it when you're reading something that, on the surface anyway, is breezy and fun and humorous, and as you get more deeply engrossed, you realize that it's been subversively feeding you some pretty deep stuff, to the point that it could be described as transformative? If you really do hate that, then don't read this, because Bill Konigsberg packs quite a wallop with his story of Carson and Aisha and their epic road trip and bad fathers and porcupines that assume god-like proportions Don't you hate it when you're reading something that, on the surface anyway, is breezy and fun and humorous, and as you get more deeply engrossed, you realize that it's been subversively feeding you some pretty deep stuff, to the point that it could be described as transformative? If you really do hate that, then don't read this, because Bill Konigsberg packs quite a wallop with his story of Carson and Aisha and their epic road trip and bad fathers and porcupines that assume god-like proportions. I loved everything about this book.
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  • Brent Hartinger
    January 1, 1970
    How have I not reviewed this yet? Another great book by a very fine author at the peak of his talents.
  • Justin Shaffer
    January 1, 1970
    If I had to sum up my feelings towards this book in one word, I think it would be "disappointed".That's not to say that this is necessarily a bad book. In fact, I thought that it was a pretty okay book. Average, if you will.The problem is that I thought that Bill Konigsberg was more than just an average writer. His first two books are amazing. And this one is just... well, average.Carson Smith is Konigsberg's first legitimately unlikeable protagonist, and I really didn't care for that. There's n If I had to sum up my feelings towards this book in one word, I think it would be "disappointed".That's not to say that this is necessarily a bad book. In fact, I thought that it was a pretty okay book. Average, if you will.The problem is that I thought that Bill Konigsberg was more than just an average writer. His first two books are amazing. And this one is just... well, average.Carson Smith is Konigsberg's first legitimately unlikeable protagonist, and I really didn't care for that. There's nothing worse than an author who tries to get the reader to sympathise with a terrible person, but that's exactly what happens here. I curse J.D. Salinger for ever writing "The Catcher in the Rye" and influencing generations of writers to tell stories about annoyingly self-centered characters. It's a trend that can die any time now. I also think that the whole commentary on religion wears thin because it runs only skin deep and is supported entirely by clichés. There's nothing to be said in these pages about the hypocrisy of fundamentalist Christianity that hasn't been said thousands of times before. We get it: spirituality is good, organised religion is bad. What else do you have to say about it? It turns out that Konigsberg doesn't have anything else to say at all.I will say that while I wished that the "gay history" part of the book (I.e. the last third or so) ran a little deeper than basic information that anybody who knows anything about gay history already knows, it was definitely the best part. The book ended strongly, and that probably earned it another star in my rating.I just know that Bill Konigsberg is capable of writing so much better than this. I guess I'll have to wait for the "Openly Straight" sequel for that trend to hopefully continue.
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  • Cheryl Klein
    January 1, 1970
    Funny, smart, snarky, with unexpected heart, actual depth, and some of the best dialogue you'll read in a YA novel this year.
  • Emily
    January 1, 1970
    Occasionally I read a book and know immediately that it's going to end up on one of my syllabi. This was true for Bill Konigsberg's first two books (Out of the Pocket; Openly Straight), and it's true for The Porcupine of Truth. I can't wait to talk about this novel with my students.So many of the boys/men in Konigsberg's narrative are broken; they're lost, alone, and angry, paralyzed by what they think they know and fearful of what they don't. As a result, they lash out, hurting themselves, hurt Occasionally I read a book and know immediately that it's going to end up on one of my syllabi. This was true for Bill Konigsberg's first two books (Out of the Pocket; Openly Straight), and it's true for The Porcupine of Truth. I can't wait to talk about this novel with my students.So many of the boys/men in Konigsberg's narrative are broken; they're lost, alone, and angry, paralyzed by what they think they know and fearful of what they don't. As a result, they lash out, hurting themselves, hurting others, harboring secrets, and harboring resentments that prevent them from giving or receiving love.This is true for Carson, the teen protagonist, and his dying father, with whom Carson is supposed to spend the summer. To be honest, I didn't care for either of them as the book opened. Carson's father I actually loathed. But, this is a book about a journey, and, like Carson, as I learned more, my deepening understanding opened up pathways to empathy. I think what I appreciated most about the book (and what I imagine my students will want to explore) were the many kinds of journeys Carson experiences: (1) the physical distance Carson literally travels with Aisha (his new friend who has been kicked out of her home) on their road trip from Montana to California, (2) the historical journey Carson has to take as he tries to unearth the details of his grandfather's disappearance, (3) the journey of faith both Carson and Aisha undergo as they grapple with institutionalized homophobia and prejudice and their devastating consequences,(4) and, finally, Carson's own slow trajectory toward self-acceptance, which includes reconsidering his parents, his family's history, and even Aisha, whom he frequently and frustratingly objectifies. Throughout the book Carson is simultaneously smart, selfish, sensitive, profane, ridiculous, moody, and genuine. He lingers...as does this complex book.
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  • Jeff Adams
    January 1, 1970
    Porcupine is nothing short of outstanding. This is unlike Bill’s other two books and it tackles some life’s most difficult aspects, including the impact of secrets, religion and how parents impact their children. He wraps all this up in an entertaining package that had me laughing at times, angry at others, and crying more than once.In Porcupine, 17-year-old Carson travels to Billings, Montana, with his mom so they can take care of his dying father. This is after the family’s been separated for Porcupine is nothing short of outstanding. This is unlike Bill’s other two books and it tackles some life’s most difficult aspects, including the impact of secrets, religion and how parents impact their children. He wraps all this up in an entertaining package that had me laughing at times, angry at others, and crying more than once.In Porcupine, 17-year-old Carson travels to Billings, Montana, with his mom so they can take care of his dying father. This is after the family’s been separated for more than a decade. Carson’s dropped off at the zoo so his mom can check in on his dad alone. At the zoo, Carson meets Aisha, who he soon finds out is living at the zoo having been thrown out of her house because she’s a lesbian. There’s a rocky start to their friendship as they sort each other out, but soon they end up on a mission.The story on Carson’s grandfather is that he abandoned his family decades before, and it’s something Carson’s father has never gotten over. As he’s sorting through things in the basement, however, Carson comes across boxes of his grandmother’s things, and there are items in there that reveal there’s far more to the story. Carson and Aisha take off on a road trip from Billings to Thermopiles, Wyoming to Salt Lake City and finally to San Francisco to uncover what really happened to grandpa.I’m not going to talk about any more of the plot becuase I don't want to spoil it. Bill weaves his plot perfectly, doling out bits and pieces to Carson, and to the reader, in a perfect way that keeps the road trip going… and the reader completely engaged. I was thrilled I didn’t piece anything together too quickly so that I could take in the story’s crescendo at the same time Carson did. (Looking back I should’ve caught on to some clues, but I’m glad I didn’t.)Read full review at: http://www.jeffandwill.com/2015/06/04...
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  • Tee loves Kyle Jacobson
    January 1, 1970
    Talk about epic road trip this story is one hell of a road trip where secrets will be revealed and secrets will be made new.Carson Smith is going to spend his summer helping his mother take care of his alcoholic father. As his father is dying Carson is determined to find out who his grandfather is. He has disappeared into thin air and Carson wants to surprise his father with finding his grandfather.One day Carson is brought to a zoo by his mother and it is there that he meets Aisha Stinson. This Talk about epic road trip this story is one hell of a road trip where secrets will be revealed and secrets will be made new.Carson Smith is going to spend his summer helping his mother take care of his alcoholic father. As his father is dying Carson is determined to find out who his grandfather is. He has disappeared into thin air and Carson wants to surprise his father with finding his grandfather.One day Carson is brought to a zoo by his mother and it is there that he meets Aisha Stinson. This is the beginning of an epic road trip as Carson invites Aisha along to find his grandfather so his father can see him one more time before he dies.As they go along following clues as to where his grandfather is they learn a lot about who his grandfather really is. This is a must read story that will have you on the edge of your seat waiting to see what clue is next. What adventure will they go on next.
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  • Noam
    January 1, 1970
    The title of this book should've been Procupine of Preaching. Cause that's what this book actually is - a preaching of how good religion can be.Fine, I get it, there is a big issue out there for LGBT+ people who are also religious or come from religious household. But do we really have to treat them like idiots with the emotional range of a 10 year old? As an atheist, I was very happy during the first few pages when Carson plain out said he doesn't believe in God. How many character like that ca The title of this book should've been Procupine of Preaching. Cause that's what this book actually is - a preaching of how good religion can be.Fine, I get it, there is a big issue out there for LGBT+ people who are also religious or come from religious household. But do we really have to treat them like idiots with the emotional range of a 10 year old? As an atheist, I was very happy during the first few pages when Carson plain out said he doesn't believe in God. How many character like that can be found in YA? or just general fiction?Why couldn't the story have progressed with him, as the narrator still thinking there is no god but learning to accept it might give other people comfort? And, even if you have question his own believes - give him a good reason. Not just "these people said something nice so I guess there is a God." Did he ever talk to atheist before? And if this feels like I'm exaggerating, let me put it this way (since we're not the LGBT+ issue anyway): isn't it annoying how you only get character having relationship with both girls and boys when it's a coming out as gay storyline? You hardly get characters who are just bi cause that's who they are, it's gay people trying to figure out who they are. That's what this is. People only bring out atheism when it's about talking how religion can actually be good. I'm sick of it. Then, there's the preaching about alcoholism. Again, I get it. But there's a right way to do it, again trust your readers to be mature enough to understand complexity. Also, this time, it's done in a very stupid way. The worst thing to say to someone with background of alcoholism in the family is "never drink". The problem is drinking itself, it's abusing it. Children to alcoholic parents need to be tough how to drink *responsibly*, how to enjoy alcohol and not see it only as a toll to deal with problems. And, lastly - this is just badly written. 2/3 of the book is the set-up to the main issue, and it's not only too long it's just not done properly. Too much here is just not believable:-Aisha is too perfect, she almost feel like a Mary-Sue and come on, we're all grown out of writing those within 6 months top since started writing. - Carson got no character! Like.... zero! The only thing I can say about him is that he likes telling jokes. That's not really a character is it? even that's not very believable either, it's hard for me to imagine such a person even exists. And the worst: none of the changes are earned by actions, or by development. I don't wanna say anymore cause of spoilers, but the author was so into having a lovy-dovy ending and tear-full happy moments that he forgot he needs to actually make them happened on their own. I am disappointed to the point I'm not read Konigsberg's next book, I was excited cause I really like Ben and related to his story. But seems like all of his books suffer from the same mediocre writing which disrespect the reader and has zero plot!
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  • Kristan
    January 1, 1970
    You ever randomly pick up a book at the library due to the cover? I do that often and end up forgetting about it and not reading further into it. I'm so happy I didn't do that with this book. This is a book about life that will make you think, hope, and love the many wonderful music references (I'm a sucker for any book referencing Tegan and Sara!). I won't be writing a summary I just felt the need to say if you're glancing at reviews and wondering if you should read this book, I highly recommen You ever randomly pick up a book at the library due to the cover? I do that often and end up forgetting about it and not reading further into it. I'm so happy I didn't do that with this book. This is a book about life that will make you think, hope, and love the many wonderful music references (I'm a sucker for any book referencing Tegan and Sara!). I won't be writing a summary I just felt the need to say if you're glancing at reviews and wondering if you should read this book, I highly recommend giving it a try. It made me laugh, cry, and emotionally connect to everything going on. This is one of those books I'd recommend everyone everywhere to read! I absolutely adored it and hope it is made into a fabulous movie someday!
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  • Amy
    January 1, 1970
    A heartfelt novel, beautifully written, about family, friendship, the nature of God, religion, being "other", being loved, bad puns and a porcupine of truth.
  • Sofia Galvez
    January 1, 1970
    4 Platypires for The Porcupine of Truth by Bill Konigsberg “I worry sometimes that our world actually values a lack of intelligence. Like we are considered normal if we spend our time thinking about what one of the Kardashians wears to a party, and we are considered strange if we wonder whether a bee’s parents grieve if said bee dives into the Central Park Reservoir and never makes it back to the hive.” I picked up Porcupine after attending a teen book con in my city of Houston. I was pretty exc 4 Platypires for The Porcupine of Truth by Bill Konigsberg “I worry sometimes that our world actually values a lack of intelligence. Like we are considered normal if we spend our time thinking about what one of the Kardashians wears to a party, and we are considered strange if we wonder whether a bee’s parents grieve if said bee dives into the Central Park Reservoir and never makes it back to the hive.” I picked up Porcupine after attending a teen book con in my city of Houston. I was pretty excited to meet the author after reading Opening Straight, a book I enjoyed very much. I actually picked this book up having no clue what it was about but I am so glad I did. I loved the characters in this novel. The characters and their banter with each other were realistic. They were broken characters going along a journey into finding their own truth. This a book about religion, friendship, loss and family that I think teens and adults would find relatable. This a book that I would highly recommend.
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  • Liviania
    January 1, 1970
    Last year I read a Bill Konigsberg novel for the first time. OPENLY STRAIGHT was a good summer read, but not one of my favorites of the year or anything. His recent release, THE PORCUPINE OF TRUTH, still caught my attention with its adorable cover and a blurb that promised an epic road trip.The story starts when Carson's mom leaves him at the zoo. They've come to Billings, Montana for the summer to help his dying father in his final days, and she needs to ditch him for a bit to take care of thin Last year I read a Bill Konigsberg novel for the first time. OPENLY STRAIGHT was a good summer read, but not one of my favorites of the year or anything. His recent release, THE PORCUPINE OF TRUTH, still caught my attention with its adorable cover and a blurb that promised an epic road trip.The story starts when Carson's mom leaves him at the zoo. They've come to Billings, Montana for the summer to help his dying father in his final days, and she needs to ditch him for a bit to take care of things. At the zoo Carson meets Aisha, who has been kicked out by her father because she's a lesbian. It's the beginning of a fast friendship between two weirdos with similarly off-beat senses of humor. Yes, there is an epic road trip. Carson and Aisha set out to find what happened to Carson's grandfather. He was a missing person, but they found evidence in the basement that he was in contact with his wife after he officially disappeared. I liked that their road trip encounters a lot of problems, including car trouble and difficulty finding places to stay. It's a pretty realistic road trip for two teenagers without many resources and rapidly dwindling parental approval.There is a lot of religious discussion, which doesn't bother me, but I know isn't everyone's cup of tea. Carson doesn't really believe in anything, and Aisha is turning against her childhood beliefs since her very Christian father treated her in such an un-Christlike way. On their road trip, they encounter people who believe a variety of different things and discuss them. I thought it was a good reflection of reality and very revealing of all the characters.THE PORCUPINE OF TRUTH is a very funny novel that tackles tough subjects like alcoholism, homeless LGBTQ youth, and racism. (Aisha is black.) The irreverent tone balances the dark matter without being disrespectful of it. Definitely worth a read.
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  • Lee
    January 1, 1970
    ...and a solid four-stars at that!Certainly an interesting one! I went into this book with very high expectations, as Openly Straight is one of my favourite books, whilst also knowing very little about this book, and I certainly wasn't disappointed. There's a lot of emotions in this book, and the balance between the funny stuff and the heavy stuff is done well. There's quite a diverse selection of characters, a lot of very insightful quotes, and you know...there's a road-trip! I just, urh...I ki ...and a solid four-stars at that!Certainly an interesting one! I went into this book with very high expectations, as Openly Straight is one of my favourite books, whilst also knowing very little about this book, and I certainly wasn't disappointed. There's a lot of emotions in this book, and the balance between the funny stuff and the heavy stuff is done well. There's quite a diverse selection of characters, a lot of very insightful quotes, and you know...there's a road-trip! I just, urh...I kind of struggled to like Carson for about 85% of this book, for the most part. He did have a couple of (what I thought were) redeeming moments though, and he even acknowledges the things I'm not really fond of about him in a a couple of "oh shit, I'm being stupid" moments, but I just...couldn't quite connect with him. Aisha, on the other hand, I absolutely adore! I think she's a brilliant character, and I really liked the overall story and the element of mystery and everything. It was just Carson who I had an issue with, which is kind of unfortunate, seeing as he's the narrator!It's a decent book, and I shall definitely read whatever Bill may write next!*and a side-note, this book is SO PRETTY! The general design, and the little porcupine on the bottom-left on the front of the hardcover...I'm a fan. :)
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  • Stephanie
    January 1, 1970
    I LOVE THIS BOOK. LOVE LOVE LOVE LOOOOOOVE.I won it from somewhere- It arrived in the mail with no explanation, so I'm going to assume it was from Goodreads, and if so I thank you, and also, you need to remedy the vagueness so we the winners of this amazing book, can thank whomever made it possible.You know when you read a story, and even though you are nothing like the characters, you can relate to them and you GET them, without ever having been in their shoes? This is how I felt about Carson a I LOVE THIS BOOK. LOVE LOVE LOVE LOOOOOOVE.I won it from somewhere- It arrived in the mail with no explanation, so I'm going to assume it was from Goodreads, and if so I thank you, and also, you need to remedy the vagueness so we the winners of this amazing book, can thank whomever made it possible.You know when you read a story, and even though you are nothing like the characters, you can relate to them and you GET them, without ever having been in their shoes? This is how I felt about Carson and Aisha.I'm not going to do the summary thing, because this story is truly complex and it would be like, 8 pages long and still not even get close to what the book actually means, and you can get that from the 6 million other reviews... but all I'm going to say is this:The Porcupine of Truth is the best YA road trip book I've ever read. There is so much story, and so many things that happen, and every one they encounter, and every action they take has meaning to the story. If you liked Paper Towns, then this is about 8 billion times better, more interesting, and funnier. Margo can kiss it.This book is super funny. And it's sad. And it's deep and religious, without being preachy. It's about friendship, and family and acceptance and love.And it's so damn good.
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  • Vicki
    January 1, 1970
    I absolutely loved this book. I thought the road trip was realistic and the discussions that occurred between the characters about homosexuality were realistic. I am a Christian and I am always appalled by professed Christians who can "disown" their children because of their sexual orientation, which happened to the main character, Aisha. Her father (view spoiler)[kicked her out of the house (hide spoiler)] but in my Christian opinion that is not what a father should do and not what I think Chri I absolutely loved this book. I thought the road trip was realistic and the discussions that occurred between the characters about homosexuality were realistic. I am a Christian and I am always appalled by professed Christians who can "disown" their children because of their sexual orientation, which happened to the main character, Aisha. Her father (view spoiler)[kicked her out of the house (hide spoiler)] but in my Christian opinion that is not what a father should do and not what I think Christ would do.Recommendation: I highly recommend this GLBT book. It is pretty eye-opening in many ways.
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  • Sonia
    January 1, 1970
    What do God, homosexuality, bad puns and porcupines have in common? This book.While this wasn't a life changing story (FOR ME), I still loved how thought-provoking it was. I liked how the issue of religion and being gay was treated and all the questions it raised about society. Carson was a very relatable protagonist, but honestly, I feel like I learned something from every character. Some of them were downright awesome. And some parts were really funny. And there was no romance, which was nice What do God, homosexuality, bad puns and porcupines have in common? This book.While this wasn't a life changing story (FOR ME), I still loved how thought-provoking it was. I liked how the issue of religion and being gay was treated and all the questions it raised about society. Carson was a very relatable protagonist, but honestly, I feel like I learned something from every character. Some of them were downright awesome. And some parts were really funny. And there was no romance, which was nice actuallyx Definitely recommend this book is you like deep YA and John Green.
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  • Megan
    January 1, 1970
    Not a terrible book, but not a great one either. I figured out the end long before the protagonists did. I found the narrator a little irritating but overall it was a unique take on the father-son and road trip tropes. The last few chapters were genuinely moving, but it didn't quite feel earned--what were mediocre characters on a somewhat interesting plot line co-opted a depth of emotion and pain from a group of people otherwise absent from the book.
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  • Jory
    January 1, 1970
    Sobbed my way right through the ending of this book. I think I'm always down for the epic road trip -- the metaphoric quest for meaning in life. And maybe my favorite part of this novel were the times when Carson and Aisha wrestled with religion and god. Also smiled whenever it was obvious that Carson was forever attracted to Aisha, even when that was clearly not going to happen. :)
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  • Shouri
    January 1, 1970
    A Powerful Story Full Of Wit and Wisdom. The young-adult novel, “The Porcupine Of Truth,” packs all the humour, brilliance, and emotion you could expect from a powerful story. I would say it's a challenging read, spanning almost 350 pages. The author has written award winning novels which all revolve around LGBT characters, a theme also present in this story. The novel is written in the POV of the main character, Carson, and is written in a pretty interesting way. Many uses of bad words and line A Powerful Story Full Of Wit and Wisdom. The young-adult novel, “The Porcupine Of Truth,” packs all the humour, brilliance, and emotion you could expect from a powerful story. I would say it's a challenging read, spanning almost 350 pages. The author has written award winning novels which all revolve around LGBT characters, a theme also present in this story. The novel is written in the POV of the main character, Carson, and is written in a pretty interesting way. Many uses of bad words and lines that only you would expect from a late teen. Carson Smith didn’t want to go to meet his estranged father, whom he hadn’t seen for 14 years, nor did he ever expect the greatest mystery and adventure of his life. While at a zoo one random day, he meets a beautiful girl, and they instantly connect. Too bad he learns the hard way that she's a lesbian, and her family threw her out; Oh well. Carson’s father was an alcoholic, and his father before him. Russ Smith, Carson’s grandpa, abandoned his family 30 years prior and was never seen nor heard from again. Finding letters and files from a mysterious neighbor send Carson and Aisha off on an unforgettable road trip across the country, and in the end, help him realize the power of believing in himself, and the power of the Porcupine of Truth. I would have to say Carson’s a very contemplated and flat character. He’s interesting because of his language and his thoughts. He says and believes some things you’d never expect to hear from someone. In my opinion, he is very likeable, especially after you see what he is willing to go through to find hs grandpa before his dying father passes away. In summary, Carson was my favorite character of this novel. I believe at its heart, this novel is about believing the impossible to be possible. It also revolves a great deal around facing your fears. Carson doesn’t want to come to terms that his dad is actually dying each day, and you’d never expect a teen to go across the country for his father’s wish. This novel takes place all across west modern-day America. I think other readers would especially enjoy this book because of its humour. This novel is definitely for high school students and above, but more mature middle schoolers could enjoy it. I wouldn't really say this book is emotional, but rather more touching. The author’s writing style was wonderful, ad really conveyed all he’d wanted us to get out of it. As I read the last page, this book definitely felt complete to me. There weren’t any mistakes, and I would say this book is purely for entertainment. I cannot say my favorite part of the novel, because it would definitely spoil the entire novel for its readers. I conclude by saying this wonderful, powerful, witty, wisdom-filled novel is for all, and all who read it will enjoy it.
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  • Robert Bates
    January 1, 1970
    This is the story of a boy and a girl, but not that type of story. The boy is Carson Smith. He recently had to move from New York City to Billings, Montana to help take care of his sick father. He had not heard from his father since he was young. Abandoned fathers is a common theme in the book. Carson's dad also was abandoned by his father. Carson goes on a search for his missing grandfather with the help of Aisha Stinson, a beautiful African American teenager. She was abandoned by her father wh This is the story of a boy and a girl, but not that type of story. The boy is Carson Smith. He recently had to move from New York City to Billings, Montana to help take care of his sick father. He had not heard from his father since he was young. Abandoned fathers is a common theme in the book. Carson's dad also was abandoned by his father. Carson goes on a search for his missing grandfather with the help of Aisha Stinson, a beautiful African American teenager. She was abandoned by her father when he found out she was gay. Bill Konigsberg takes us on a road trip where Carson and Aisha go looking for Carson's grandad and learn a little about themselves in the process.
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  • Cheryl
    January 1, 1970
    So much! So many themes, so much earnest teaching of so many lessons. So much implausibility. Still awfully cute, and so engaging that I stayed up too late finishing it. Recommended if you're interested and can hush your inner critic.I did like the author's "Openly Straight" but I think I'll only keep going with him if the subject is specifically intriguing.
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  • Alicia Farmer
    January 1, 1970
    The parallels to John Green are many: young adult genre, contemporary issues -- addiction, LGBT, exploration of spirituality, ROAD TRIP! This was a sweet, humane story about finding one's people. I didn't sense any false notes, even though the ending was maybe a bit too tidy.
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  • Kenya (ReviewsMayVary)
    January 1, 1970
    Once again, a book that holds a teen relationship at it's center but really has excellent "other" relationships. Here's a full review (someone else's) that I agree with since I'm not blogging anymore: https://strokingfire.wordpress.com/ta...I'm giving it #WNDB for the queer Black co-lead.#RocTBF2018
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  • Kiana Cook
    January 1, 1970
    The Porcupine of Truth is a good book--not outstanding, not frustrating, not lovable, not horrible. It's just a book--a book that has some brilliant highs and some dreary lows that balance out to make this a kind of overall "meh" read. I read Konigsberg's Openly Straight a couple of years ago and thoroughly enjoyed it. I think I was expecting something along those lines of brilliance, but Porcupine doesn't deliver on the same level. It's got some smart things to say and it has some emotional mom The Porcupine of Truth is a good book--not outstanding, not frustrating, not lovable, not horrible. It's just a book--a book that has some brilliant highs and some dreary lows that balance out to make this a kind of overall "meh" read. I read Konigsberg's Openly Straight a couple of years ago and thoroughly enjoyed it. I think I was expecting something along those lines of brilliance, but Porcupine doesn't deliver on the same level. It's got some smart things to say and it has some emotional moments, but I never fell in love with the characters or cared about the situation or became engrossed in certain scenes in the same way that I did with Konigsberg's previous book.I think my biggest problem with the story is the blatant irresponsibility. The entire premise of ditching your family--let alone when your father is dying--to drive across the country with a girl you've only known for a couple of days to hunt down your long-lost grandfather just rubbed me completely in the wrong way. Maybe, maybe if our protagonist had received some punishment for it, it wouldn't leave me with such a bad taste in my mouth. But the utter indifference on his family's part to what he's doing? The way they lecture him on what a bad idea it is and then just let him go on with it? The way he's given a pat on the back at the end? The way it's all treated so casually? It's just offensive to me. Yes, teenagers make stupid decisions, I know. But to make one on this level and to brush it off as no big deal just bugged the hell out of me. However, I will defend the protagonist, who a lot of other readers aren't overly fond of. Carson Smith is not perfect. He makes rude, sexist comments, his thoughts about Aisha are more than a little obnoxious, and he's completely irresponsible and impulsive. And yet I liked him. He read like an actual teenage boy--an incredibly flawed teenage boy who has a lot of growing up to do, which is, in essence, what teenage boys are. To be fair, I never felt like he learned or atoned enough to make up for his bad behavior, but I've kind of addressed that already. His narration is the right amount of witty and honest and sarcastic. I loved his little quips and inner conversations with himself. And I did relate to his sudden bursts of anger and frustration with life--sure, looking at it on paper, Carson's life is nothing to whine about. In fact, compared to Aisha, his problems are nothing in the scheme of things. But don't we all feel like our problems are all-encompassing? Carson is a realistic narrator because of his immaturity and self-entitlement, not in spite of it. But clever dialogue and entertaining narration can only get a book so far. There's something about The Porcupine of Truth that never really pulled me in, and I don't know what it was. I could never bring myself to care all that much about what was happening on the page, and while the book is readable--incredibly readable; it's easy to keep turning the pages--the story itself, for all of its mystery, is not that intriguing. Maybe the bad decisions Carson and Aisha kept making were what yanked me out of wanting them to solve the mystery and find his grandfather. I have no idea. All I can say is that I lost interest somewhere in the middle of the book, only for it to have an excellent final fifty pages (why does that keep happening lately?), and while the final fifty pages are well-written and emotional and everything a book should be (even if the ending came off as a little clichéd), the rest of the story will soon be lost to my memory. There's just no sticking power, no punch, no oomph for a majority of this book, and it's a shame because Bill Konigsberg can write. He has a clean, funny, refreshingly original narrative style and his characters and conversations jump off the page. It's just a matter of what he does with them. In Openly Straight, I loved the entire experience. In The Porcupine of Truth, my interest rose and fell with every chapter. There's some beauty in this book, but there's a lot of forgettable stuff that comes in between those moments, so be warned--The Porcupine of Truth is a good book, but "good" feels so underwhelming when you know an author can do better. 3 stars.
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  • Susie
    January 1, 1970
    I loved it! What a whole bunch of cool concepts gathered together. Who knew? I absolutely must read Openly Straight now. Must. We Arizonans gotta stick together after all. : >
  • Angie
    January 1, 1970
    The Porcupine of Truth covers a lot of important topics: alcoholism, AIDS, religion, friendship, racism, homophobia, and family. It's a lot, but nothing felt forced or out of place. It's also all handled in a fun and touching way, rather than being dark and depressing. Not to say that Carson's story is sunshine and rainbows. His father--whom he hasn't seen in 13 years--is dying and is grandfather has been missing for over thirty years and this may be the last chance for his family to be reunited The Porcupine of Truth covers a lot of important topics: alcoholism, AIDS, religion, friendship, racism, homophobia, and family. It's a lot, but nothing felt forced or out of place. It's also all handled in a fun and touching way, rather than being dark and depressing. Not to say that Carson's story is sunshine and rainbows. His father--whom he hasn't seen in 13 years--is dying and is grandfather has been missing for over thirty years and this may be the last chance for his family to be reunited.While I was interested and invested in Carson's story and the mystery of his missing grandfather, I have to say that I couldn't help but hope for dual POV with Aisha! I wanted to get to know this girl more! She's a black lesbian from a religious family, living in a place where she's probably the only black lesbian around for miles. She's also homeless because her father kicked her out after discovering that she had a girlfriend. This turned her off from religion, because she was kicked out in the name of Jesus! She becomes a very important person to Carson, and not just because she's the one who drives him across the country chasing clues about this grandfather's whereabouts. She shows Carson that the world does not revolve around him! And that it's okay to be serious and not always make a joke when things get tough. I would love a companion novel from her POV of what happened after.Back to Carson. The Porcupine of Truth is mainly about him and his family problems, even though we do get to experience Aisha's personal and family problems as well. There is a lot going on with him, but I think my favorite was how the author dealt with alcoholism being hereditary. Carson's father has essentially drunk himself to death. His father also had a drinking problem. While on the road, Carson is tempted. He has his first drink (or three) and realizes that this is going to be an issue. I liked that this was discussed, because children of alcoholics should be aware that they're predisposed to addiction and should know the signs. I'm proud of Carson.There's a lot going on in The Porcupine of Truth and I enjoyed it all! It was fun, funny, touching, and sad. I loved the interactions between Aisha and Carson; they have some get banter! It was also nice to see involved parents, even if Carson's mom does tend to be more of a shrink than a mother type. And his father is trying in his own way. Also, San Francisco! I love San Francisco!Read more of my reviews at Pinkindle Reads & Reviews.
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