JUST LOVED READING: Tru and Nelle: A Christmas Tale

JUST LOVED READING: Tru and Nelle: A Christmas Tale

Tru and Nelle: A Christmas Tale

by G. Neri 

Middle Grade/Fiction


Neri, G. Tru and Nelle: A Christmas Tale. New York: HMH Books for Young Readers, 2017.

Tru moved away from his mother’s cousins home in Monroeville, Alabama. He thought living in New York with his mother and step-father would be fun but after a stint in a military academy, Tru runs away.

He hops on a train with other hobos and heads back to Monroeville. He becomes friends again with Nelle who lives next door to his cousins. It’s the Christmas season but events happen which dampen everyone’s spirits: the house the cousins live in burns down and they move in with Tru’s aunt and uncle on their farm outside Monroeville.

Nelle’s father takes on a case of two black men accused of robbing a store and killing its owner. Nelle blames herself for arrest. Reminiscent of the case in To KIll A Mockingbird, this case doesn’t end happily, either.  The story does reaffirm the better side of the human spirit when Tru and his family and Nelle and her father celebrate Christmas with the accused in the local jail.


In a surprising twist, Tru’s cousin, Sook, invites a member of the KKK to the celebration. Only his son, the local bully, shows up and demonstrates how beautifully he plays piano.  It doesn’t turn everyone into good friends but the incident highlights how complex race relations were during the Jim Crow era in the South.

Tru and Nelle: A Christmas Tale is the continuing narrative of the friendship between Truman Capote and Harper Lee which continued into adulthood (until Truman Capote became jealous of Harper Lee’s literary success).

Monroeville, Alabama was founded in 1815 on lands ceded by local Native americans. It was later formally incorporated in 1899 and named after President James Monroe. Monroeville is the seat of  Monroe County, Alabama. In 1997, the Alabama legislature designated Monroeville as the “Literary Capital of Alabama.”




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About marion

I first wrote and sketched as a child growing up in Pittsburgh, PA and Brooklyn, New York. I received her first recognition for my creativity when I won the New York City Schools Art Award and participated in my first art exhibit in downtown Manhattan. I was fourteen and a half when I moved to Cyprus with my family. I experienced culture shock but I continued to write about and sketch the sights and sounds of another country and many other things. I am a creative person. I write children's and Young Adult fiction and nonfiction. I write historical and Coming of Age Young Adult novels. I also write picture books and art books for elementary school children. I am in the process of writing a fictionalized biography of a member of the Belgian Resistance who also fought for the US Army during World War II. I worked as a freelance editor for two local companies: College Prowler and SterlingHouse Publisher. I also worked as an assistant literary agent for Lee Shore Agency. I was attending Seton Hill University’s Writing Popular Fiction Program at the time and the experience was invaluable. My course work toward my Master of Arts degree in turn helped me at work. As an assistant literary agent, I reviewed all incoming manuscripts, cultivated a relationship with the writers we contracted and marketed our books to book publishers for sale. I “freelanced” my editing skills which included working with the manuscript acquisitions editor, selecting book covers with the art department, writing the book jacket blurb, reading film scripts and executing general office duties as assigned. Oh, by the way, I edited books, too. I even utilized Adobe InDesign for the editing that I did for College Prowler. I’ve also reviewed published books and conducted research. I have published nonfiction articles and books online and in print. As an artist, I have exhibited my mixed media drawings and collages nationally and regionally and have worked as a freelance designer and calligrapher. I have a BA in Studio Arts from the University of Pittsburgh and a MA in Writing Popular Fiction from Seton Hill University.

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