The Truth of Right Now is an apt title for Kara Lee Corthron’s debut novel. It does not dwell in the past. Lily is returning to school at her privileged private school after a mental breakdown/suicide attempt the previous year. Oh, and an affair with one of her teachers. The novel, however, doesn’t focus too much on these events rather the effect. Her classmates and her old friends treat her like a pariah. Her caring and well-meaning mother treats her like glass. She doesn’t want to be treated differently, yet her attitude towards the world causes people to treat her differently anyhow. She doesn’t seem to want much contact with anybody until she meets Dari, an handsome and quiet new student who is more focused on his artwork than making any new friends. Dari also seems to have some darkness to his past, but the novel doesn’t focus on that either. Instead it shows his frustration with the world around him and most importantly his strained relationship with his overbearing father.
There are a lot of issues in this book: sexual and physical abuse, alcoholism, absent parents, bullying, and racism. Yet, Corthron doesn’t treat this novel like a message and try to make a statement about any of these topics. Instead she shows how her characters view them in their lives through the lens of a teenager’s selfish and sometimes dramatic point of view.
Lily and Dari strike up a friendship that gets close very fast. But are they really good for each other? Or are they too damaged from their pasts to really be able to get close to anybody.