The Waiting Tree
is a story about four brothers in small town Louisiana who are trying to cope with holding their family together in the aftermath of their parents' death and their own personal crises. The story is told from the point of view of Simon, who is one of the younger brothers along with his twin brother Jude. Jude is mute and care for him takes up much of Simon's energies.
Simon is the perfect narrator for this story. He is justifiably biased toward Jude and is scornful of his oldest brother Paul and even at times their other brother Luke. Simon has been dealt a pretty bad hand after his parents death when the boy he loves has been sent off by his religious parents to obtain 'treatment' for being gay.
This book has all the makings of being potentially very depressing. And in some lights, perhaps it is. I never felt depressed reading it. I admired Simon for being able to pick himself up everyday and deal with everything that's been thrown at him. I don't think this is a depressing story, I think it's a heavy narrative of the connections we have to the people we love and the lengths that we're willing to go to for those people. The Waiting Tree
isn't a story about gay teenagers facing persecution in the south so much as it's a story about overcoming obstacles life throws at you. Its about learning that life will kick you while your still down, but that it's possible to pick yourself up again. The book ended just in the right place to exemplify this.
I think other people reading from varying genres are going to enjoy this book. It's a quick, emotionally driven work that I had a hard time putting down. It has characters that are realistic a story that's honest. I think my singular complaint would be the halfhearted attempt at southern dialogue. Scattered throughout are frequent uses of 'yer' but no other emphasis on dialogue, so this story could have taken place anywhere. But I don't feel like this took anything away from the story overall, it was merely my observation as a southerner.