It Rhymes With Truth

Fiction - Literary
230 Pages
Reviewed on 07/06/2024
Buy on Amazon

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    Book Review

Reviewed by Rich Follett for Readers' Favorite

It Rhymes With Truth by Rich Miller is an extraordinary, unconventional debut novel about an extraordinary, unconventional bond between two extraordinary, unconventional people. When old-folks-home resident Ruth takes in and hides an itinerant boy we know only as “Sweetie,” and who serves as the narrator for this alternately heartbreaking and knee-slapping memoir-esque tale, the two of them (each as stubborn as the other) forge an unbreakable bond that defies categorization while compelling the reader to examine the true nature of human relationships. It Rhymes With Truth is provocative in the sense that it asks important questions without ever leading the reader to conclusions: What is the nature of love? What are its limits? What makes a family a family? What is the price we must pay for doing good deeds? Are some people truly evil, or is their meanness born of pain? In so doing, Miller makes his readers integral characters in the narrative by demanding that they think for themselves to find the hidden truths the story offers.

Miller’s narrative is written largely from a second-person point of view, which places readers inside the story in unexpected ways, making them feel as if the events are happening to and around them. This engagement is both riveting and profound. The people and events in It Rhymes With Truth seem, at first glance, to be just everyday characters. As the narrative progresses, however, they take on layers of subtlety and complexity that render Ruth and the boy’s entire world in hazy shades of memory not linked to substantive proof – at one point late in the story, the boy, now grown to young adulthood, laments that he does not have a single picture of himself and Ruth together. The result is a sense of questioning and self-doubt so real that it almost becomes an antagonist in the story. Because we must rely solely on the boy’s memory for events, details, and evidence, we examine the text all the more closely for clues that may lurk between the paragraphs. This effect is enhanced by the many drawings and “artifacts” from the boy’s collection that Miller scatters like Easter eggs throughout his narrative landscape. Miller provides an excellent set of book club questions at the end, indicating that he wishes for and welcomes real engagement from his audience. It Rhymes With Ruth by Rich Miller is a truly original tale, masterfully rendered by a gifted storyteller clearly born to the craft.

K.C. Finn

It Rhymes With Truth is a work of fiction in the literary and interpersonal drama genres. Penned by author Rich Miller, the novel is a tragi-comic tale about the unlikely bond between an eight-and-a-half-year-old homeless boy and an eccentric elderly woman in a retirement community. Their rule of never speaking about their pasts is tested as they face misadventures, including a 30-mile taxi ride, smuggled brownies, angry bees, and a soundtrack by Cole Porter. As their bond is tested by the truth of their pasts, they must decide whether to confront their histories or continue running. This poignant and humorous story explores whether it's possible to save someone who may not want to be saved. This story of a homeless boy and an elderly woman forming a fragile, accidental family is sure to resonate deeply with all readers who appreciate human connection in its purest forms,

Author Rich Miller has a real knack for portraying instantly complex and enjoyable characters in a truly unique and emotional journey. I adored the narrative style that lets us sit on their shoulders and feel their emotions. Their rule of avoiding the past, while understandable, created a sense of impending revelation that kept me hooked, adding very naturally to the overall mysteries and discoveries of the plot. The misadventures they encountered added a delightful layer of humor to the narrative, contrasting beautifully with the underlying themes of trauma and redemption and keeping the pace fresh with new challenges that brought out new aspects of their characters. The soundtrack by Cole Porter added a whimsical touch that enriched the atmosphere, and I adored all the references and nuances that true Porter fans would catch. As the characters’ bond was tested, the novel deftly explored whether it's possible to truly save someone who might not want to be saved. Miller’s writing skillfully balanced laughter and heartbreak, leaving me deeply moved and reflective. Overall, It Rhymes With Truth is a heartfelt literary work that leaves a lasting impression, making me eager to read Miller’s future works, and to recommend this to fans of accomplished character-led dramas everywhere.

C.R. Hurst

Dark comedy is a type of comedy that makes light of dark subjects often thought too difficult to explore. Such comedies and their authors must be willing to tackle taboo subjects with audacious humor, a type of humor that, when done well, can often show truths that could not be revealed as well any other way. Such is the case with Rich Miller’s It Rhymes With Truth. In it, he tells the tale of a strange nursing home resident named Ruth who befriends an even stranger eight-and-a-half-year-old homeless boy. Together they embark on misadventures that create a bond difficult to break, though the boy very much wishes otherwise. By the end of this extraordinary novel, he desperately wants to escape one undeniable truth about Ruth.

I lost count of how many times I laughed out loud while reading It Rhymes With Truth. Rich Miller has a wicked sense of humor that never causes his subject to become too repellent like so many dark comedies can. I believe this is largely due to the wacky and wonderful relationship between Ruth and the boy. Both are intelligent and stubborn. She wants to save him. He doesn’t want to be saved. It is this tug-of-war that provides not only humor but also genuine sentiment – not gooey sentimentality which might send any eight-and-half-year boy (and a dark comedy reader) off running. Ruth is armed with two fierce weapons – brutal honesty and true love - and he (and the reader) simply cannot run fast enough. I found It Rhymes With Truth an absurd and unforgettable tour de force.

Gaius Konstantine

“Things in the world don’t stay nice for very long before they go bad, do they?” Perhaps that is true, but the opposite would also be true, and bad things do not last forever. It Rhymes With Truth by Rich Miller is a journey through a slice of life that exemplifies this truism. Ruth lives in a retirement home, a place that could be called death's waiting room. When a hungry, homeless boy stops by to eat seeds from her bird feeder, Ruth does what any person with a heart would do and takes pity on him. A glass of milk and a cookie left for the boy eventually lead Ruth to sneak the boy into her apartment and take care of him in secret despite the difficulty and danger. This mismatched couple brings new life to one another, and even though things do not always work out well, both discover that while a single act of kindness will not change the world, it can change someone's life.

Sometimes, simple stories are the best. Witty and charming, tragic and uplifting, It Rhymes With Truth by Rich Miller is a bittersweet yet heartwarming tale. The plot focuses on two individuals who have little in common except for need, and it is not only the elderly Ruth that is helping the boy; he is helping her. As characters, both of them have some believable and realistic issues, and they, along with the secondary characters, are all very well-developed and help shape this excellent story. What truly stood out, however, was the perspective of the writing style and the semi-humorous narrative, which made me forget I was reading a work of fiction at certain times. Overall, It Rhymes With Truth is a superb novel that will please fans of most genres while reminding us that we are never too old (or too young) to make a difference.

Ruffina Oserio

In the unlikely pairing of an eight-and-a-half-year-old homeless boy and an eccentric elderly woman, two lives are forever changed by the power of silence and an endearing bond. A delicate balance is struck as they navigate their makeshift family: no talk of the past. But secrets seep through the cracks, threatening to break their fragile bond. With a mischievous wit and a cast of characters as quirky as they are endearing, Rich Miller's debut novel hurtles toward a heart-wrenching confrontation with the truth. Along the way, the young narrator and the elderly Ruth experience a taxi ride, sweet treats pilfered from the wrong places, and a soundtrack that will make you hum Cole Porter's tunes for days. Can Ruth save the young boy while keeping her past from catching up with her in It Rhymes with Truth?

It Rhymes with Truth is told from the young narrator's perspective. The story opens with their first encounters, which feel like a courtship. It is written in the second-person narrative voice. This is surprisingly effective and cleverly delivered, creating a strong sense of intimacy between the narrator and Ruth and highlighting the depth of the relationship between them. The characters are intriguing, and I enjoyed the effect that Millie, Ruth’s nemesis, has on the pair. The writing is superb, and including the narrator’s artwork makes it even more enjoyable. The cultural setting is enhanced with Spanish expressions sprinkled throughout the narrative. Rich Miller has crafted a heartwarming tale that will resonate with readers, using quirky characters, sparkling dialogues, exquisite prose, and a deft exploration of genuine human connection.