Wednesday, June 5, 2013
The Waiting Tree by Lindsay Moynihan | Book Review
AUTHOR: Lindsay Moynihan
PUBLISHER/YEAR: Amazon Children's Publishing/May 2013
SOURCE: For Review from Publisher via NetGalley
Goodreads / Author's Twitter
I've put off writing this review for so long, partially because of life things that came up recently, but also because I'm not totally sure what to say. I was looking forward to reading The Waiting Tree and had high hopes for it, but I never felt totally connected to anybody. It wasn't a bad book and I read it on my phone whenever I was in line, on the train, etc. but I just never fell in love which is a shame.
Simon is an eighteen year old with more than his fair share of heartache. He loves Stephen, but growing up in a conservative, small town makes it nearly impossible. Stephen's been shipped off to one of those places to make you straight and Simon's been ostracized from the community. His parent's are dead, his oldest brother thinks he's immoral and he has to take care of his mute twin brother and help provide for the family. He's essentially trapped and can't seem to find his way out.
I think my main problem with The Waiting Tree was that there seemed to be a complete and total lack of hope. No action that Simon could take would lead to even an iota of happiness. He was so stuck for the majority of the book, there could be no growth or change and it began to feel stale. I can understand Moynihan's reasons for creating this world as it was realistic. People do find themselves in these places in their lives that are just nearly impossible to break free from, but it was incredibly difficult for me to connect to the novel because of it.
I couldn't really connect to the secondary characters either. The brothers were pretty distanced from each other. Between their awkwardness over Simon being gay and the fact that they're all struggling to get by without their parents it's understandable, but their wasn't one character who I really felt was fully flushed out. Even Tina, Simon's closest friend throughout the novel never felt real. Their relationship was basically built on using each other and they both knew it. The disconnection between characters highlighted how alone Simon felt, but it made it difficult for me to get through the book.
For me, what it came down to is the fact that there was so little hope for Simon. Even when there were things that he could do, he couldn't see beyond his current situation. If I had connected to Simon or really any of the other characters I would have been okay with that. I mean I think the point of the novel is to show how Simon has lost so much and can't imagine himself beyond his current situation at this point. It's well written and realistic and I know there's an audience out there for The Waiting Tree, the pace of the book just wasn't for me.