Truth in Fiction

  By Becca Birkin
       I’ve heard people say, “I can’t read stories like that. They aren’t real.” I disagree. The cliche says truth is stranger than fiction. I’d add, fiction can be truer than fact.
       In the last month, I have visited a Afghani compound through the viewpoint of a fifteen year old girl, witnessed the whipping and workhouse abuse of 1830’s Charleston slaves, and seen compassion and intelligence through the eyes of one considered by some to have no soul, all in the safe vehicles of Trent Reedy’s WORDS IN THE DUST, Sue Monk Kidd’s THE INVENTION OF WINGS, and Carol Lynch William’s THE HAVEN.
Katherine Paterson says it well:
“The wonderful thing about books is that they allow us to enter imaginatively into someone else’s life. And when we do that, we learn to sympathize with other people. But the real surprise is that we also learn truths about ourselves, about our own lives, that somehow we hadn’t been able to see before.”   ―     Katherine Paterson