Sarah Sammis's Reviews > Far From the Tree

Far From the Tree by Virginia DeBerry
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's review
Aug 31, 2007

really liked it
bookshelves: released
Read in October, 2006

As the German saying goes, Der Apffel fellt nicht weit vom Baum (the apple doesn't fall far from the tree), and DeBerry and Grant's novel of four generations of women take this idea and try to create a heartwarming but cautionary tale about the dangers of keeping secrets. Years of secret keeping starts to unravel after the death of the patriarch, Will. His death brings to light an old house Della, the wife and mother to Celeste and Ronnie and grandmother to Nikki, had long since put from her memory, fleeing it 41 years earlier. As so much of the present conflict hinges on these past secrets, the early part of the book is bogged down with often times confusing flashbacks that start and end without much warning or segue. It took me until about chapter six or seven to be able to tell the characters apart as the timelines are so jumbled before proper character development is completed.

Once though the house is mentioned, the story gains the needed focus and the characters have a chance to grow and interact in a coherent manner. It is the house that kept me interested in the book more than any other element in the novel. Were it not for the house I would have abandoned the book before even hitting page 100.

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