Tell the Truth, Shame the Devil by Melina Marchetta

Tell the Truth, Shame the Devil

By Melina Marchetta

Publisher: Penguin

How to buy it: QBD the bookshop, Paperback $32.99 

When can I get my hands on it: August 2016

What am I in for: Contemporary Literature

‘Tell the truth, shame the devil’ is Marchetta’s first adult fiction novel. It tells the story of a grieving alcoholic father, troubled and closeted teenagers, love lost and love gained. These stories come together under the umbrella of xenophobia, with prejudices heightened by the aftermath of a bomb targeted at a busload of young students. Set in Britain and France, Marchetta delivers memorable characters in this addictive crime drama.


Firstly, I need to disclose that Marchetta has been one of my favourite authors for a long time. I was so excited when I heard she was finally writing a non-YA novel. I waited over a year to read this book and I managed to score myself an advanced reading copy from work, YAYYY! Bookshop win.

I loved this book so much. Marchetta is great at tackling sensitive topics. Racial and religious prejudice is the main focus of this book. A bomb goes off and everyone’s first assumption is Muslim radicals. Marchetta creates a seamless ripple effect that slowly flows through the people affected by the bomb. She manages to tackle a current issue without blatantly shoving her views and opinions down your throat. I think she gave both sides a pretty accurate voice.

The only character that I disliked was Violet. She was hard to sympathise with, she came off as bratty and as such, she was annoying to read. On the other hand, Bish Ortley was an excellent character. Marchetta did well to create a character that was eloquently sarcastic and angry but as a reader, I still sympathised with him. I was heartbroken and moved by Jamal and Layla’s story. I rooted for them to the very last page.

However much I enjoyed Marchetta’s new work, I did miss having an Australian setting. As an Australian, I have always loved how authentic and real her Australian novels are. I missed that in this book.

Otherwise, I thought this was a brilliant read. Marchetta greatest attribute is that she has an incredible knack for intertwining characters from opposite ends of a story arc. This book was heartbreaking, sad, funny, and insightful of the prejudices of today’s society.


Final rating: 4/5


Zena xxx




7 Comments Add yours

  1. Great review! I really need to get into her work (I’ve only read Finnikin of the Rock). What would you suggest?


    1. You should definitely try On the Jellicoe Road, I love her more realistic fiction and so wasn’t a huge fan of the Lumatere novels. -Sam

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Will do 🙂 Fair enough


      2. I agree with Sam on the jelicoe road is my favourite book from her. Also the pipers son is really good but you should read Saving Francesca first because it is a spin off of one of those characters – Zena

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Awesome 🙂 Thanks! Also, just curious, do you have twitter?


      4. Yes we do our handle is @words_warpaint 😊

        Liked by 1 person

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