Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Katherine Allred - The Sweet Gum Tree

Sweet tea, corn bread, and soup beans—everyday fare for eight-year-old Alix French, the precocious darling of a respected southern family. But nothing was ordinary about the day she met ten-year-old Nick Anderson, a boy from the wrong side of town. Armed with only a tin of bee balm and steely determination, Alix treats the raw evidence of a recent beating that mars his back, an act that changes both of their lives forever.
Through childhood disasters and teenage woes they cling together as friendship turns to love. The future looks rosy until the fateful night when Frank Anderson, Nick's abusive father, is shot to death in his filthy trailer.
Suddenly, Nick is gone—leaving Alix alone, confused and pregnant. For the next fifteen years she wrestles with the pain of Nick's abandonment, a bad marriage, her family and friends. But finally, she's starting to get her life back together. Her divorce is almost final, her business is booming, and she's content if not happy—until the day she looks up and sees Nick standing across the counter. He's back…and he's not alone.
Once again Alix is plunged into turmoil and pain as Nick tries to win her love, something she resists with all her strength. Only one thing might break the protective wall she's built around her emotions—the truth about Frank Anderson's death. But when that truth comes out and those walls crumble, neither Alix nor Nick is prepared for the emotional explosion that could destroy as well as heal.

Comment: This is the second book by the author I picked. I have three more to read during the year. I chose the book only for its title, I haven't checked blurbs yet but the title seemed sweet and I thought I'd get a good romance...something to dream a bit.

This is the story of Alix and Nick. Alix has a family that loved and supported her all her life and her childhood was normal and full of hugs and smiles. Nick didn't have the same luck, but Alix kind of took him under her wing despite him being older. While they grew up, their feelings for each other change at the same time but despite they kept faithful to each other, things around them changed as well and other's choices helped shape their future in the end...

Overall, I enjoyed this story. It was interesting yes, and full of addictive details, mainly about living in the south, where things follow a certain pattern, a certain rityual related to a way of life.
I was really happy to read this and I admit it didn't take so long because I wanted to turn page after page just to know what would happen. The overall feeling about this book is positive, I don't know if it's a detail here and there or the main style of the story, the author's writing that compelled me to read more or something else, but when I think about the book as a whole, I really enjoyed reading it.

However, I also can't put aside my annoyance about two or three things in there...
If you haven't read the book and want to, please, bear in mind I'll approach spoiler areas....

The story follows Alix mostly because she's the narrator of the story. She is an amazing child, cute, funny, loyal, the epitome of innocence and friendship. I liked her a lot while she was a child, but since she grew up and adult themes were getting more focus, some things started to be a bit annoying, like the relationships among everyone. I thought Alix would become too angry and a little bit spoiled like at some times, especially when she knew about her father and how he and her mother separated. I mean, I don't think that she dealt with it in the most adult way. This wouldn't mean as much, I think, if she hadn't been described as adult for her years... then later her attitude towards her ex and her friend Jenna...I think the situation wasn't dealt the best way, even if one considers southern tradition and all that. I mean, sometimes Alix would act adult and serious and then she would say or do things really unlikely for the situation she was was weird.

The author's style isn't new to me, but in the other novel I've read by her, I didn't have this same thing would be really on my nerves, like usually int he end of each chapter we would have Alix say she thought something but then she didn't anticipate a determined outcome. Tis happened with almost all chapters, meaning we would always have the notion something bad would happen but then during the story we would realize, in perspective, it wasn't as bad or as disturbing as that. A few things were indeed serious, but most times I'd have the feeling I was being set up for a huge drama and after all it wasn't that bad. After a while this can be annoying...

Apart from these little things (only added up they can be perceived as a lot), I had a good time like I said and I didn't want to stop reading.
Still, despite the good things I can't help but feeling the hype around this story at GR for instance is a bit overacted in my opinion, it was good, but not perfectly polish to work out like it happens with other author who did the same, say Deborah Smith who wrote good southern dramas as well.
Nevertheless, I don't give on the author and will read her other works.
Grade: 7/10

No comments:

Post a Comment