Elizabeth Berg’s The Story of Arthur Truluv (2017) is a realistic fiction novel telling the interweaving stories of Maddy Harris, Arthur “Truluv” Moses, and Lucille Howard. One day, while Maddy is visiting the cemetery to escape her school lunchroom, she runs into Arthur, who is visiting his wife’s grave; they become fast friends and join forces to combat their loneliness –Maddy’s from the estrangement of her father and boyfriend and Arthur’s from the death of his wife. Lucille, Arthur’s next-door neighbor, soon meets Maddy, and the three come together and form a chosen family while they all navigate their changing relationships with the surrounding world.
I absolutely loved this book and finished it all in one sitting. It was such a well-written book with a fantastic storyline and well-developed characters; Berg truly understood each one and conveyed her understanding when she built this world. I loved how the story followed the importance of chosen “second families” and their impact on a young person’s development. The characters helped make the story timeless –they were all relatable and perfect yet human, with great qualities and flaws and a charisma that made me fall in love with the story.
Perhaps the best part of the story, however, was how well everything tied together. This book was “neatly wrapped”–every single part of the story mattered for the greater plot. I think that helped make it such a good read. The characters each got their moment in the spotlight, but what happened when they were on their own came back to impact the larger group of three (Maddy, Arthur, and Lucille).
Overall, I think that this book would be appropriate for older high schoolers and above –there are some sexual scenes (nothing too graphic) and a bit of language. However, it’s all part of the plot; the book reads really quickly for people wanting a fun yet short read. I thoroughly enjoyed it, and I think that many other people will like it as well.