Title: T is for Tree
Author: Greg Fowler
Publish Date: August 10, 2017
# of Pages: 384
(From Goodreads) Eddy knows he’s not like other teenagers. He doesn’t look like them. He doesn’t think like them. He doesn’t go to school or have friends like they do. Eddy’s not even allowed to leave his bedroom – except on shower day of course. He doesn’t know why; all Eddy knows is that he’s different.
Abandoned by his mother and kept locked away by his grandmother, Eddy must spend his life watching the world go by from his bedroom window. Until Reagan Crowe moves in next door and everything starts to change. She’s kind, funny, beautiful, and most importantly, she’s Eddy’s first friend. Over time, Reagan introduces Eddy to the strange and wonderful world outside his bedroom: maths, jam, love.
But growing up isn’t that simple for either of them. And Eddy has a secret. The tree that’s slowly creeping in through his window from the garden is no ordinary tree. But then again, Eddy’s no ordinary boy. He’s special…
Set over the course of five years, T is for Tree is moving, life-affirming, and shows that we can all find greatness in the small things.
** Possible spoilers!**
T is for Tree by Greg Fowler is about Eddy, a young boy with Down Syndrome, and his friendship with the neighbor girl, Reagan. It is a story of friendship, love, and loss.
I thought this was a very well-written novel. Once I started reading it, I didn’t want to put it down.
So what did I like?
The symbolism. The symbolism with the tree and Eddy’s relationship with the tree is beautiful. The tree brings Reagan and Eddy together. As the tree grows, Eddy grows. Towards the end of the book, the tree symbolizes life and the circle of life.
Eddy and Reagan’s friendship. The friendship between Eddy and Reagan is enviable. For Eddy, Reagan is his whole world. For Reagan, Eddy is her rock. Reagan doesn’t see Eddy as disabled—she sees him as a constant friend, worthy of love and jam sandwiches. Eddy makes the ultimate sacrifice towards the end of book and trades his life for Reagan’s. I think this is seen as controversial, since Eddy is mentally handicapped (his life is worth just as much as Reagan’s), but I didn’t see it as controversial. I thought it was a beautiful show of friendship that capped off a tragic circumstance.
Eddy’s supporter’s. From the sweet elderly lady down the street to Mrs. Crowe, Eddy has strong supporters who want him to succeed. I like how everything tied back to Eddy and his ability to bring people together.
Eddy the philosopher. Eddy turns into a little philosopher towards the end of the book. He discusses life, the meaning of life, and his purpose in the world. I’m not sure how believable it is, since my knowledge of Down Syndrome is practically nonexistent, but it was a neat addition, regardless.
What didn’t I like?
The grandmother. I thought the first part of the book where Grandma Daisy keeps Eddy locked up is strange. I don’t think it did much to develop the plot towards the end of the book, and I’m not sure what purpose it really served. After I finished the book, this part still stuck out to me as strange.
Not realistic. While I liked the symbolism of the tree, I still don’t really understand the tree. Is it magical? Is the magic in Eddy’s head?
Overall, this was a wonderful story. It made me smile, and it made me cry.
Thank you to NetGalley for providing the Kindle version of this book in exchange for an honest review.
“‘Relationships are like rubber bands, in my opinion. When we’re getting along well, they’re under no pressure, but when we fight and argue, it’s like they’re all stretched, and that’s when they can snap. What a lot of people don’t seem to recognise is that a stretched rubber band is still a rubber band. If anything, it’s showing exactly how strong it really is. Sometimes people just figure it’s going to snap so they get out before it can sting them. But you see, Eddy, rubber bands are remarkable things, they can withstand more pressure than we give them credit for and then they’ll go right back to where they started . . . if you’ll just give them that chance.’”
“You can’t beat a dose of sugar and fat when a challenge came knocking.”
“Life was all about circles, not squares. Squares had ends, hard, sharp ends that refused to budge. Circles, on the other hand, never ended, they just kept renewing themselves.”
Check this book out at your local library.