Monday, April 2, 2018

April's Book of the Month--Far From The Tree

April’s Book of the Month is the recent National Book Award winner, FAR FROM THE TREE, by Robin Benway. This heartfelt homage to the wonderful messiness of families follows three teenagers, all with the same birth mother, as they meet at particularly crucial points in all of their lives.

Adopted sixteen-year-old Grace has just had a baby. She’s devastated, but she knows she must put her own daughter up for adoption, too. After hunting obsessively for the perfect parents for “Peach,” she realizes she needs to find her birth mother, "a woman who had maybe hurt (and maybe was still hurting) like Grace was hurting now.” She talks to her parents and finds out, although she has grown up an only child, she has biological siblings. Two of them, in fact, and one, a girl, lives only twenty minutes away.

 Maya is younger than Grace, even while she’s the older sister in her adoptive family. Though much loved, she and Lauren (biological daughter, conceived soon after Maya was brought home) have been watching their parents' marriage implode for years, helped along by their mother’s escalating drinking. The girls find her passed out in the bathroom shortly after their dad finally moves into his own apartment. She’s sent to rehab, and mostly absent during a time when Maya could really use a mom around.

Older brother Joaquin is the only one of the three who has not been adopted. He’s gone through the foster care system and it's left him with plenty of scars. Right now, he’s living with a great couple now who really seem to want to adopt him, but Joaquin can’t afford to let himself believe it will work out. When Grace brings the three of them together, they embark on an emotional journey to find themselves and, in the process, they find the meaning of family.

At times funny, at times heartbreaking, FAR FROM THE TREE digs deeply into many kinds of family bonds on its way to a satisfying conclusion.


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