Kevin Reilly's Reviews > The Trees

The Trees by Conrad Richter
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's review
Jun 09, 2010

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Read from February 16 to April 25, 2010

For better or for worse, The Trees is a very accurate portrayal of what life on the early American frontier must have been like. The book’s historical accuracy in respect to the linguistics of early American pioneers is astounding, but tested my patience thoroughly. It took me a while to realize that a “trencher” is a table, or that “butts” refers to tree trunks. The writing of Conrad Richter is, at times, undecipherable or even grammatically wrong; Take this sentence for instance: “It had black frost early in October that the axe couldn’t chop the ground.” I assure you, I did not make a typo; that is actually how the sentence is. I guess there must have been more lax grammar rules in the 1940’s because that is unacceptable nowadays.
Language barrier aside, the book tells an interesting story. Most of the characters tended to get on my nerves. The mother is downright depressing, after the family moves all she says is stuff like “I don’t keep track of the days no more” or “I hain’t noticed, my eyes kain’t see so good here.” I did not connect very well with any of the characters, and was almost grateful whenever one left the story.
If you are interested by the early 19th century American frontier, then you will probably find this book to be endlessly fascinating. I don’t think that The Trees is a bad book (it seems most critics gave it very high praise), I just had a few too many problems with.
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