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262 pages, Paperback
First published May 1, 2016
The Eagle Tree is the first book I’ve read by author, Ned Hayes and I’d like to start this review by giving a very special thanks to Trish Collins at TLC Book Tours. She contacted me to ask if I’d like to review this book and after reading the synopsis I couldn’t accept fast enough. Although she could not have known it at the time, The Eagle Tree’s subject matter is one I relate to on a very personal level. My oldest son was diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome when he was 5 and it’s not often that you find fictional stories, TV shows, or movies that portray characters with ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder) accurately and honestly. So thank you Trish, this is not a book that would have been on my radar had you not contacted me!
The Eagle Tree is the story of an autistic fourteen year old named March Wong and how he connects to the world through his love of trees. He and his mother recently moved to a smaller home and while she’s struggling with his behavior, March is struggling to understand and adapt to these changes. He spends every day climbing the local trees; he knows everything about each species and their ecosystems. While climbing a neighbor’s tree one day March sees a huge tree in the distance and becomes rather obsessed in his need to climb it. He learns that the locals call it the “Eagle Tree” but before he gets the chance to climb it he also learns of the plans to cut down the historic tree to make way for a new housing development. March makes a bold plan to protest the destruction of the beautiful tree but doesn’t realize he could potentially loose something far greater in the process.
Told through the eyes of March, The Eagle Tree is an intimate and respectful look into the mind of someone with autism. I was truly blown away by how well Ned Hayes wrote March’s character. I was completely pulled into this world where the most important thing was a desperate tree in need of salvation. March’s frustrations in expressing himself and making those around him understand and care about the trees he loves so much was equally heartfelt and touching. As the story moves on March begins to grow and mature, he becomes more self-aware which in turn begins to strengthen his personal relationships with those that care for him.
I cannot tell you enough how much I loved The Eagle Tree. I’m not the type of reader who re-reads books and most books that I love tend to fade from my memory soon after I’ve finished them. I think this happens because I read so much and so quickly so the finer details of novels tend to fade or blend together. This book is different though. March’s story is so beautiful and so very special to me and they will both always have a place in my heart for a very long time. I would highly recommend this one to anyone who’s interested in books that have a diverse point of view. I would also recommend it for anyone who’s been touched by knowing someone or caring for someone with ASD.
A huge thank you to TLC Book Tours for inviting me to participate in this blog tour and for providing me with a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for my honest review!
This review was originally posted on My So-Called Book Reviews