HONESTLY, MYRON by Dean Hughes


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From the author of last year's Nutty for President, another funny story about a fifth-grader grappling with principles and contrary pressures. Myron's trouble starts with his teacher's Lincoln's Birthday address to the class, designed to cure classmate Lustre Bright of the outlandish lying habit that bothers both Myron and the teacher, Mr. McEnelly. The talk on honesty rolls right off Lustre, but inspires Myron to tell the truth at all times. That night, he brings up past concealments at home until his parents are angry with each other and then, standing ""sort of cold shoulder to cold shoulder,"" at him. In class, he tells other kids their faults in the name of honesty, until even Mr. McEnelly gets fed up. Finally, his uncompromising behavior moves the principal, Mrs. Kendall, to a speech she'll regret: ""Now here's the truth--since that's what you want. . . . Lincoln probably lied through his teeth when he had to. The only people who tell the truth all the time are crazy people, and we lock them up for it. . . . But if you quote me on that I'll lie--hear that?"" Still uncorrupted, Myron feels conscience-bound to call the local radio station to correct his principal and superintendent, who are painting a misleading picture of school overcrowding in order to push a bond for school construction on the voters. This gets Myron a spot on the next night's local TV talk show, where, in the same spirit of honesty, he discloses the principal's remarks on Lincoln. Before long the little town of Clellum is embroiled in its own ""Lincolngate"" scandal, and Myron's charges are repeated on CBS News. The bond, which Myron really favors, is defeated. But if Myron learns that ""everything was so much more complicated than he thought it ought to be,"" the grownups also learn a lesson about being up-front with the voters. And so Hughes manages an ending that's both honest as fiction and supportive of Myron. For every kid who's speculated about the consequences of complete honesty (and who hasn't?), it's good fun with a sound base.

Pub Date: April 21st, 1982
Publisher: Atheneum