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The Treehouse

3.85 of 5 stars 3.85  ·  rating details  ·  55 ratings  ·  21 reviews
A young LDS teen in 1940s Provo, Utah lives through his father's death, a post-WW2 mission to Germany and the Korean War in this new novel. I highly recommend it. It's a gentle tale that shifts gears from light to dark with deftness. Thatcher, a BYU writing professor, has created many well-defined characters.
373 pages
Published January 1st 2009 by Zarahemla Books (first published December 2008)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 106)
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Laura Craner
This one really grew on me. Doug Thayer's iceberg (Hemminway-esque) style is always hard for me to adjust to, but once I do I always enjoy it. (Except in the case of the sentence, "Harris was pleased." I would be okay if that sentence occurred in only half the places Thayer used it.) This book is a really excellent example of Mormon stories being told through a liminal character. Harris is not a charismatic, clean cut stereotypical Mormon man. He hangs back, is never particularly comfortable wit ...more
Terry Earley
I must say, though I was not too impressed by Thayer's short story collection "Under the Cottonwoods", His memoir "Hooligan" and this novel "The Tree House" were two of the best LDS books I have read. Both are highly recommended.

As a teenager, then as an LDS missionary in Germany, as an infantryman in Korea, and finally coming home to put his life back together and cobble together some meaning of it all, it had me fully engaged. This was no sugar-coated, formulaic story where "everything is OK".
Very interesting but somewhat depressing in parts. The main character's character is hard to discern because of the writing style.
Thayer is known mainly for his short stories, so when I discovered this last year as a fairly new publication of his I was eager to see what he did with a novel. I was not disappointed. I give five stars to a book that I would purchase or read a second time. Those of you who know me know that I am pretty selective about what books I buy because I'm so cheap. :) And, I rarely read a book a second time, even if it's out of this world. This book was really incredible. Thayer creates an authentic Mo ...more
One of the first pieces of Mormon literature that I read was Thayer's short story collection Under the Cottonwoods. I was really moved by many of the stories in it; the imagery was perfect, the writing clear and understated, and it asked hard questions about faith in a world of disappointment, violence, and tragedy. I've read more by Thayer since then, but always come away disappointed. Until I read this book the other week and I was blown away again. There are a few flaws in it; some of the act ...more
Shared with me by Curtis Ricker

This book is a sort of coming-of-age story, beginning in Provo, Utah, at the end of World War II and extending through a LDS mission to Germany and service in the Korean War.

The story deals with topics of faith, and family, good versus evil, and our relations to those around us. In many ways, I identified with Harris Thatcher, the main character, who chose to have faith and live a good life when he didn't always have the faith of those he saw around him.

I did find
Harris is a young boy growing up in Provo. He looses his Dad early in life and this novel tells the story of his young adulthood, his mission to war-torn Germany and then his time in Korea on the front lines of combat.

In short, I loved it. While it was clearly a "Mormon Story," it did so without being preachy or didactic. The contrast between mission and military service is shocking and unpleasant. And the prose is simple and spare but beautiful and powerful.

Harris is an immensely interesting
This novel follows the early life of Harris Thatcher. Beginning with childhood and years as a young man growing up in Provo, Utah, then three years as a missionary in Northern Germany, followed by a stint in Korea with the U.S. Army. Harris must cope with a number of deaths in this straight-forward coming-of-age story. While there are a number of good times and warm moments, the is a sadness to the overall story.
This book was very well done, the writing style was somewhat new to me, but other than that it is a book that makes you think. At first I was unsatisfied with the ending of the novel but after re-reading it I find it thought provoking and fitting for the novel as a whole. This story shows that no matter what happens in one's life there is always a glimmer of hope.
I wrote about Thayer's semi-autobiographical coming of age story on my blog at a few months ago...mainly focusing on his unique approach to prose. In short, at first all his short punchy sentences bothered me, but after a while, they helped me get inside the protagonist's head. An interesting read.
Having read short stories from Douglas Thayer before, I was familiar with his stark and to the point style. I really liked this, although a few pages from the end I wasn't sure I would. A message of grace and redemption despite all the hard stuff this old life throws at us. I want to read more of Douglas Thayer.
Jonathan Langford
This is a truly excellent book that presents tough questions. A candidate for the great Mormon novel (if such a thing ever exists). For my full review, go to:
Kennedy Hansen
This was a very interesting read. I do have to make a disclaimer was that there were certain sexual references that made me uncomfortable. However, I felt it was very honest novel and I really loved the main character.
I had to quit reading this book because somebody told me the ending, which would have been a downer for me to read. When I'm feeling like reading something a bit depressing, I'll try again!
I liked this book a lot. I kept thinking about it for several days after finishing. I think it is Thayer's best, but, of course, a writer should get better all the time.
Such a sad, sweet tale. He was so full of humility, which made him all the more sweet. It was also fun to read about such familiar places that connected me to the story.
Rebecca H.
I enjoyed the characters in this coming of age novel about two boys who grow up together then go off to war. It's a sobering book that's beautifully crafted.
I liked this book. Good Mormon fiction. The main character is very real and believable, and I think everyone can relate to some parts of him.
I enjoyed this much more than I expected.
Jan 11, 2011 Juli marked it as to-read
rec. by jonathan stapely, mormon author
Masterpiece by the "Mormon Hemmingway"
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