Far from the Tree: 🍫🎂🍰🌌

I can read a lot of heavy stuff — not that I only like to read about heavy stuff — but because heavy stuff exists, and I want to savour the entire spectrum and intensity of all the world’s experiences can offer through words, one degree sheltered from the luridness of these experiences. The highest highs give rise to the lowest lows, and we can seek commonality and humanity in pain.

The above comes with emotional investment and burnout. Hiroshima, acquaintance rape, teen depression, cancer… I’m currently in a state of shock by this list I just wrote down, just absent-mindedly listing themes of books I’m reading now.

woah woah woah. what happened to rainbows and unicorns.

Segway here, Far from the Tree isn’t a bright bubble of a story, cut off clean from the world, where light bounces off with so much clarity the bubble seems mirror-glazed (in other words, it’s not a three-tier mirror-glaze chocolate mousse cake 🍫🎂🍰🌌, it doesn’t make everyone happy). As much as it touches on teenage pregnancy, the foster care system, trauma, it’s not bitter either. I didn’t want to feel deflated or crestfallen, just an easy-breezy read in the goldilocks zone.

(every time we conjure up these terms, they sound much more serious and loaded than they are within individual contexts, and each scenario is always up for interpretation.)

Far from the Tree centres around three siblings, Grace, Maya, and Joaquin, all given up in separate situations by their mother. They find each other and are shocked at how much they remind themselves of each other. Beyond their noses and their eyes, their preference for fries with mayo, and even their breakup stories share similarities. and, as families do, they root for each other.

What is family? Family can be a married couple, generation skips, single parents, step-family, divorced families, gay couples, children separated by birth. There is no one uniform type. Benway writes the nuances and little details like me adding generous chunks of chocolate in everything I bake (who doesn’t like a little chocolate?) I relish an author with a good eye for detail. Just bookmarking this for myself here, the dialogue in this book, especially between Grace and Rafe, is so entertaining. I’ve had conversations like that before, and I want a level of comfort like that. The playful conversation starts, counter all your quick remarks, like passing notes in secrecy.

The warmest hug of a book about family, recommended to me by my mom. At the end of the day, all three children are incredibly lucky. They all found people who love them, and who are willing to give the sun and the stars and the world to them. Verdict, Far from the Tree reads sweet, calming, and warm. just what I needed. not harsh and stale.

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