Minis: Circles, Hearts and Rains

As usual, I’m doing mini-reviews to catch up with my review backlog! Some Filipino books up for this Minis post. :)

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Smaller and Smaller Circles by FH BatacanSmaller and Smaller Circles by F.H. Batacan
Publisher: UP Press
Number of Pages: 155 pages
My copy: paperback, won from a giveaway

Smaller and Smaller Circles is unique in the Philippine literary scene – a Pinoy detective novel, both fast-paced and intelligent, with a Jesuit priest who also happens to be a forensic anthropologist as the sleuth. When it won the Carlos Palanca Grand Prize for the English Novel in 1999, it proved that fiction can be both popular and literary.

I had only one Literature class for college, which made me just a little bit sad because it was one of my favorite ones, and I could use a bit more lit reading in my academic life. Anyway, we were assigned novels to read in that class, and I was really, really hoping that our group would get Smaller and Smaller Circles by FH Batacan because I loved the premise: a Pinoy detective novel? Serial killers? “The first of its kind” (at least, back in that time years ago)? I want it.

Anyway, our group didn’t get it, and I ended up borrowing my roommate’s copy, but not before I got spoiled with the ending because of the group who reported on the novel. But even so, I enjoyed reading it and was kind of glad that I had a chance to read it again for our book club’s discussion last May.

Did I like it on my second read, years after I read it the first time? Yes, I still did. I am a fan of crime procedural shows, so reading something similar gives me the same thrill of watching. The book reminded me of that tiny, tiny dream of being a forensic specialist that I sometimes get, if only I don’t get so queasy over blood. Smaller and Smaller Circles is still as engaging as when I first read it, and I still felt the thrill over the chase and the satisfaction on the ending. Granted, it wasn’t perfect and some of it weren’t that believable, but I still enjoyed reading it the second time around.

Rating:
Other reviews:
marginalia | Book Rhapsody

What's In Your Heart by Ines Bautista-YaoWhat’s In Your Heart by Ines Bautista-Yao
Publisher: Summit Books
Number of pages: 196 pages
My copy: paperback, bought from National Bookstore

Nineteen-year-old Natividad-named after her deceased grandaunt, a fact she thoroughly resents-is nit going to win an award for Best in Goal Setting any time soon. She doesn’t even know what her real goals are, aside fro simultaneously pining for and getting over smart, hot, talented, charming Gabe, whose glassy perfection both dazzles and depresses her. Then the universe deals her a wake-up call in three sure steps:
1.) She starts an internship at a preschool, where the kids are chaotic but cute;
2.) She finds an intriguing, potentially life-changing stash of letters addressed to her grandmother from her namesake grandaunt; and
3.) She falls into a weird friendship with Luis, the boy with an infectious smile who seems determined to rescue her from Gabe-and from herself.

Will this wake-up call finally push her life forward or is Natividad, much like her old-fashioned name, doomed to forever live in the past?

* * *

I wasn’t completely sold on the author’s first bookso I wasn’t sure if I really wanted to read this one. Curiosity won out, though, especially with this interesting cover. In a nutshell, What’s In Your Heart is about 19-year old Nat who is reeling from a break-up and had no clear direction in her life. Then three things happen: she starts an internship in a pre-school, finds a bunch of letters from the grand-aunt she was named after to her grandmother, and starts a friendship with good-boy Luis who kept on saving her, it seemed like maybe, Nat isn’t that lost after all.

Honest moment: Nat drove me nuts at the first part of the book. She’s so weepy and whiny and mopey that I didn’t feel like I wanted to read more about her. I couldn’t find anything too redeeming about her until she finally picked herself up, and I found myself slowly cheering for her. I liked the pre-school aspect, and Luis, and that tiny twist with him before things fell into place for her. The letters thing was a creative touch, except in the end, it felt a little too teleserye-like for me.

I really liked the last chapter, too. I think this is a more satisfying and well-rounded story than One Crazy Summer, and this is probably something I would like reading back in college when I was Nat’s age, too. :)

Rating:
Sky Blue After the RainSky Blue After the Rain by Cristina Pantoja Hidalgo
Publisher: UP Press
Number of pages: 147 pages
My copy: paperback, borrowed from JL

This little volume brings together stories from Cristina Pantoja Hidalgo’s four collections of short fiction and her two novels, plus one new story.

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My friend JL lent this book to me because he wanted me to read one story, The Art of Understatement. But when I saw that this is a Cristina Pantoja Hidalgo collection, I decided to read it, anyway, since I really liked the author’s other collection, Catch a Falling Star.

It’s been a while since I finished reading this collection, and I am honestly struggling a little to remember what I liked about this. I liked what my friend recommended to me – The Art of Understatement left me feeling wistful, and wondering about my own writing. There were some familiar stories from Patriciang Payatot, which is the content of Catch a Falling Star.  Several favorites, though, other than The Art of Understatement: The Warrior, which tells the story of two estranged friends who see each other one last time before one of them dies; The Tale of the Spinster and Peter Pan, a woman whose routine is disrupted by a young man in a rock band; The Ghost of La Casa Grande, an interesting take on a family history and how a mother tries to help her daughter get her happiness; and The Painting, a kind of story that seemed fit to be told around the campfire.

I am still quite partial towards Patriciang Payatot stories in Catch a Falling Star, but Sky Blue After the Rain is a good short story collection from Cristina Pantoja Hidalgo, and is worth the read. It’s the kind you’d want to go back to every now and then to get your fix of a well-written short story with lots of Filipino flavor. :)

Rating: [rating=3

 

Minis: Charlie and Willy Wonka

So last December, our book club’s book for the month was a very sweet book, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl. I’m ashamed to admit that I haven’t read the book yet, but this is one of the books that escaped my childhood. But nevertheless, I was excited for it not only because the discussion date is also our Christmas party, but also because hey, it’s chocolate. Who wouldn’t want that?

I ended up buying the complete Charlie and Willy Wonka adventures book because the series completist in me surfaced and I figured it was cheaper to get the two-in-one book when I went to the bookstore, plus I may want to read the other one after I read the first. So here are my review of the two books as my first Minis post for 2013. :)

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald DahlCharlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl
Charlie Bucket # 1
Publisher: Puffin
Number of pages:  155
My copy: paperback, The Complete Adventures of Charlie and Mr. Willy Wonka, bought from Fully Booked

Willy Wonka’s famous chocolate factory is opening at last!

But only five lucky children will be allowed inside. And the winners are: Augustus Gloop, an enormously fat boy whose hobby is eating; Veruca Salt, a spoiled-rotten brat whose parents are wrapped around her little finger; Violet Beauregarde, a dim-witted gum-chewer with the fastest jaws around; Mike Teavee, a toy pistol-toting gangster-in-training who is obsessed with television; and Charlie Bucket, Our Hero, a boy who is honest and kind, brave and true, and good and ready for the wildest time of his life!

* * *

Charlie Bucket comes from a poor family who lives near Willy Wonka’s famous chocolate factory. Always hungry, Charlie looks forward to his birthday every year because he gets to have one chocolate bar. Just in time for his birthday, Willy Wonka announced that he is opening his factory again, and five lucky kids who can find a golden ticket will be given entrance to the factory. Our little hero finds one in the most unusual way. Together with four kids — one who likes to eat, one who likes to chew gum, one who never stops watching TV and a spoiled brat — Charlie comes in and finds that he may be in for the biggest adventure of his life.

I remember my first impression of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory when I was reading the first few pages: it cheered me up. Maybe it’s a psychological thing with all the chocolates and all, but I felt a bit lighter when I was reading the first few pages. Charlie and the Chocolate Factoryis children’s fiction anyway, so there’s nothing heavy to expect in the book, which my very busy and frazzled mind appreciated very much — a very well-deserved break from looking at zooprinting.com for cheap brochures.

However, I realize now that while I’m reading this as an (almost) adult, I wasn’t as enchanted with the book as it went on. I liked the Oompa-Loompa’s song and all, and the lessons that Mr. Wonka gave about each kid are pretty valuable, but in the end I just find him a bit...creepy. I wouldn’t want to be left alone with him, really. Perhaps if I read this as a kid, I would enjoy it for all its chocolate-y goodness, but the grown-up part of my mind is resisting some of its charm.

I think my younger self would have loved Charlie and the Chocolate Factoryif I had a chance to read it back then. My sweet tooth would have been beside herself with glee. But now that I’m a little bit older (I was about to say jaded, but that’s too negative, heh), I just like it. I would’ve loved it, but now I just like it.

Now I want a chocolate bar.

Rating:
Other review: marginalia

Charlie and the Great Glass ElevatorCharlie and the Great Glass Elevator by Roald Dahl
Charlie Bucket # 2
Publisher: Puffin
Number of pages:  159
My copy: paperback, The Complete Adventures of Charlie and Mr. Willy Wonka, bought from Fully Booked

Now that he’s won the chocolate factory, what’s next for Charlie?

Last seen flying through the sky in a giant elevator in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Charlie Bucket’s back for another adventure. When the giant elevator picks up speed, Charlie, Willy Wonka, and the gang are sent hurtling through space and time. Visiting the world’’ first space hotel, battling the dreaded Vermicious Knids, and saving the world are only a few stops along this remarkable, intergalactic joyride.

* * *

Charlie and the Great Glass Elevatorpicks up right where the first book left off, and Charlie finds himself with Mr. Wonka and the rest of his family inside the glass elevator and by some crazy mishap involving one of Charlie’s grandmothers, they all end up in outer space. But no fear, since Mr. Wonka is there! They find themselves looking at the world’s first space hotel, some bewildered astronauts and finally some Vermicious Knids who are set on having them for lunch.

If Charlie and the Chocolate Factory was fun and comforting, I was just kind of …weirded out with the next book. There’s lots of space stuff here, which was fun in itself, but the fun feel of the first book was missing in this book. It felt like all the other adults in this book save for Willy Wonka and Charlie’s Grandpa Joe were all…well, stupid. The Vermicious Knids delivered the right kind of terror, I think, and even I wouldn’t want to be trapped with them. Sure, there’s a smidgen of adventure in the first part, but it didn’t really fly with me. The second part, when they’re back in the factory, worked a bit better for me although I felt like it was just an afterthought in the book. There is a bit of a lesson there somewhere, but it didn’t have the same charm as the first book.

I guess if I were younger I would’ve enjoyed this one too, but honestly, I was just reading it to finish it when I got to the end. Although it had some fun merits, a part of me wished that I just stopped with Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Now I can’t get the image of those Vermicious Knids out of my head.

Rating:

Minis: Eliza Victoria

So it’s been months since I read all of these, and I apologize for the late, late, late reviews. I’m just catching up, you see, and since the following books are all form the same author, I thought I’d go and put them all in one post. :)

I’ve heard of Eliza online through some fellow writers in NaNoWriMo, I think, but I can’t remember if I ever sent her an email or talked before the 2nd Filipino ReaderCon. I’ve read her work in Alternative Alamat, and it was one of my favorite stories in the collection. It reminded me of those days in my college literary folio (the short times I’ve spent there, anyway), and it made me want to read more of her work. We follow each other on Twitter, but I was always shy in talking to her because I feel like I’m just going to fan girl. Haha. Imagine my surprise when she approached me during the ReaderCon. :D And then I did not even get to fan girl properly. :P

Anyway, these are three of Eliza’s works that I got and read after the ReaderCon was done. And I’m going to spoil you right now: I liked all of them. Very much. :)

Lower MythsLower Myths by Eliza Victoria
Publisher: Flipside Publishing
Number of pages: 87
My copy: ebook from Amazon Kindle Store

Lower Myths features two compelling novellas of contemporary fantasy from Eliza Victoria, one of the most talented young writers in Asian speculative fiction today. In “Trust Fund Babies,” children of two warring witch and fairy families face off in the final round to a centuries-old vendetta.

In “The Very Last Case of Messrs. Aristotel and Arkimedes Magtanggol,” an aristocrat and his daughter consult a famous lawyer-sibling pair about a mysterious crime. But in the lawyers’ hilltop mansion by the sea, they uncover sinister hints that their reality may not be what it seems.

Eliza Victoria’s fiction and poetry have appeared in various publications including High Chair, The Pedestal Magazine, Expanded Horizons, Usok, and the Philippine Speculative Fiction series.

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I got this one as a sample first, and this was one of the cases where I loved the sample so much that I had to get the book soon after.To be quite honest, I was not sure what Lower Myths was all about, except that it contains two short stories/novellas and the sample just made me want to read on.Trust Fund Babies is a fun, with and fairy story that totally had that mafia feel. It’s violent and can be quite gory, but all done in a tasteful way. I liked the relationship of the families and the idea of the glamour. I can imagine this as a short film with all the effects and the mystery.

The second story, The Very Last Case of Messrs. Aristotel and Arkimedes Magtanggol is kind of confusing because of the shifting realities, but the world building is superb. There’s a certain disconnect at first, but when things start falling into place, I found it so engaging that I just have to find out what happened next. While it’s not really as fun as Trust Fund Babies (for me, anyway), I liked how this one played out. This is the kind of world that I cannot imagine writing on my own, but I love reading. :)

Lower Myths is a good starter for Eliza’s works, if you’re into quick, fantasy reads with a local flavor. Of course, it could also be too short for you, but that’s why you’d end up looking for her other works just to satisfy that craving. :)

Rating:
Other Reviews: The Girl Who Read and Other Stories

A Bottle of Storm CloudsA Bottle of Storm Clouds by Eliza Victoria
Publisher: Visprint
Number of pages: 209
My copy: paperback, bought from Fully Booked

Award-winning author Eliza Victoria mixes magic with the mundane in this special concoction of 16 short stories. A girl meets a young man with the legs of a chicken. A boy is employed by a goddess running a pawnshop. A group of teenagers are trapped in an enchanted forest for 900 days. A man finds himself in an MRT station beyond Taft, a station that was not supposed to exist. A student claims to have seen the last few digits of pi. Someone’s sister gets abducted by mermaids.

Includes stories that have appeared in the critically acclaimed anthologies Philippine Speculative Fiction and Alternative Alamat, and stories that have won prizes in the Philippines Free Press Literary Awards and the Amelia Lapeña-Bonifacio Literary Contest.

Lower Myths got me craving for more of Eliza’s stories, so when I found out that Visprint released an anthology of her stories, I knew I had to get it. A Bottle of Storm Clouds contains 16 short stories that have appeared in various anthologies, all with the same local fantasy goodness. I was so excited to get this one after the 2nd Filipino ReaderCon (I really, really wanted to win one, but alas, I didn’t) — and I wasn’t planning to read it immediately to save me some local fiction goodness, but I couldn’t wait, either. And so I read.

A Bottle of Storm Clouds is one of those books that you can’t help but keep on reading but you also don’t want to end just yet. I tried not to read this book too fast because I wanted to savor each story. There’s something interesting and entirely different in each story — some of them were creepy, most of them sad, but all had really good fantasy elements that stretched my imagination wider than it did before. :) I liked how Eliza hinged most of the stories with real human experiences like grief and sadness, family and friendship and love and even selfishness and life crisis. It’s a good balance between magic and reality, and there are certain lines that meld them together nicely, like this one:

Magic. Amanda thought of clear skies and stars, steamed rice and fish, bagoong soaked in vinegar. A cup of coffee in the early morning, the feel of grass, the city lights. Clarissa. Her brother carrying her on his back, her parents dancing on the cool patio as it rained. The ground pounding with life. A poem humming in her head. (Siren Song)

My personal favorites: Ana’s Little Pawnshop on Makiling St., Intersections, Sugar Pi, Parallels, Monsters, The Storyteller’s Curse, Siren’s Song. I think there’s a story for each and every reader in this collection, and probably even for every mood. I liked this collection a lot, and if you want to read good, local fantasy with different flavors, get A Bottle of Storm Clouds. I’m sure you’ll find a favorite in one of them. :)

Rating:
The Viewless DarkThe Viewless Dark by Eliza Victoria
Publisher: Flipside Publishing
Number of pages: 56
My copy: ebook, requested from the publisher

When Anthony found Flo dead, locked overnight in one of the reading rooms of the university library, he knew it must have something to do with Mary. Mary Prestosa, fourth year graduating Philosophy student, whom they had been investigating. Mary, who surprised her roommate one night by suddenly standing up from her bed, throwing the windows open, and jumping down, headfirst, to the dormitory grounds below. Mary, whose memory marked the trail of mysterious deaths and bizarre occurrences that followed her own fateful fall: the fifth-year Computer Engineering student who prowled the campus on all fours, thirsty for blood, believing he was a wolf; the revelation of an all-girls’ satanic cult; the demonic possession of a fourth-year student from the Department of Psychology; and now—Flo, dead.

* * *

So I read The Viewless Dark around October, because it was supposed to be a horror novel and the best time to read a horror story is during Halloween, right? I was kind of wary, though, because I’m not a fan of anything scary, so I made sure I read this in broad daylight.

The Viewless Dark is about Anthony’s friend, Flo, who was found dead in the university library. He knew his friend’s death had something to do with Mary, who committed suicide some time ago, and whose death Anthony and Flo were investigating. Here we see what really happened, and what Anthony knew about Flo that no one else knew and what exactly Flo had been going through the night before she died.

Of course I ended up reading this at night, anyway, because I need something to lull me to sleep. And even if I read this in broad daylight, I still felt creeped out every now and then with the story. I liked how the story unfolded from the death of Flo and into flashbacks that pointed just to how exactly Flo ended up that way to what happened to Anthony’s family. I liked how vivid the setting was and how sufficiently creepy the “possession” they set up (it made me fear looking at the mirror for a while, even if I don’t have a 24″ bathroom vanity ) until the final twist in the end which undid everything I thought I knew. And then Eliza wraps it up in a different way, giving it a poignant, almost hopeful ending.

I’m pretty sure I’m just chicken, and other friends might not think that this is as scary as I thought it was. But even so, I have a very good feeling that some of my friends will like this book just as much as I did. :)

Rating:

Minis: Required Reading for August

Still working through my review backlog, so I thought — let’s do a Minis post again! I don’t know if I should make this a habit, but I’m making it a sort of special case for August’s reading list so I can get them all down in one go. I’m efficient that way. (And also maybe a bit lazy. :p)

On another note: I was supposed to include the review of Noli Me Tangere in this post, but it isn’t short anymore, so I will reserve that for another post. :)

Paper Cuts by Pam PastorPaper Cuts: Dodging Deadlines, Celebrity run-ins and Other stories I told the Internet by Pam Pastor
Publisher: Anvil
Number of pages: 169
My copy: paperback, bought from National Bookstore

Paper Cuts is a collection of stories from my crazy life, what happens between deadlines.

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I got this book a year ago during the book launch, not because I knew the author or I was even really remotely interested — I got this simply because I wanted to support local authors and their work. Of course, with the not-so-high interest level, I pushed this down my TBR until I finally pulled it out so I can finally read it. Paper Cuts is a collection of stories from journalist/writer Pam Pastor based on her adventures in her “crazy life”. I liked the idea, given that I’m a blogger myself, although I doubt that my life is as crazy as hers.

I enjoyed Paper Cuts for the most part, especially the ones where the author shared anecdotes about her family. There’s nothing like crazy family stories to set the tone of a non-fiction book. I also liked her crazy commuting/cab stories because I share the same things too. However…my enjoyment kind of stopped there. After some time, I just couldn’t relate much to the other parts of the book. It feels like maybe I would have enjoyed it more if I wanted to have the same adventures as she did — meet different celebrities, go around the world for her job and party when there’s time — but I’m actually quite happy with my own life. These stories were good to read, but it’s not something that I would probably gush about, unless they were my own experiences, that is. But knowing (boring) old me, I don’t think I’ll even reach as many crazy experiences like that.

It’s not a bad book, per se. The writing was very witty and again, there were several stories that made me chuckle, but I was a bit apathetic for the rest of the stories. It’s just one of those books that I am not a part of the intended audience. But you know what, maybe that’s why I haven’t heard of the author until her book came out — maybe it’s because we’re just in entirely different circles. Overall, it’s an okay book.

Rating:

Lumayo Ka Nga Sa Akin by Bob OngLumayo Ka Nga Sa Akin by Bob Ong
Publisher: Visprint
Number of pages: 186
My copy: paperback, gift from KD

Mula sa kasumpa-sumpang kahirapan at kalunos-lunos na kaignorantehan sa mundong kanyang kinagisnan, namulat si Marie sa tunay na mukha ng matamis at mapapakasakit na pag-ibig.

Ngunit makakayanan niya ba ang mga hamon ng bukas?

Ano ang kanyang magiging kapalaran?

Huwag na huwag palalampasin ang mga tagpo ngayong gabi sa telesineryenobela na kumpleto sa mga pang-aapi, paghihiganti, impostor, amnesia, kasal at diary!

* * *

Bob Ong was a staple among my friends in college, because he provided us with quick and funny reads that keeps us afloat during stressful school days. I guess reading his books has become a habit that I haven’t shaken yet, that’s why I wanted to read his latest book, Lumayo Ka Nga Sa Akin (loose translation: Stay Away From Me). The title is a play on one old Filipino song Lumayo Ka Man Sa Akin by Rodel Naval that eventually became a title of a Filipino noontime soap opera. The book is written in script format with three stories, one that plays on the cliches found in Filipino action movies, Filipino horror movies and finally, Filipino romance movies. Since this book is written for Filipinos, it’s going to be hard to explain these cliches to foreigners, so let’s kind of leave it at that. Anyway, as with every Bob Ong book, the book pokes fun at different things in the Filipino society, too, with the purpose of using humor to make the readers thing.

This book reminds me of those old gag skits I used to write for my org in school. And that’s the only charm of the book. Overall, I had the huge urge to just chuck the book and not finish it. There were some funny parts, yes, but it wasn’t the old funny thing that Bob Ong used to write. More often than not, the jokes fall flat and are just plain corny. It’s not that I didn’t get it — I just didn’t appreciate it, I guess.

So it’s either I’ve outgrown Bob Ong books, or this is just blah. Maybe a little of both? Or I guess I just kind of miss the ABNKKBSNPLAKo and Stainless Longganisa days.

Rating:

Required Reading: August

Minis: Brightest and Giving

I have several short books that I thought I’d put them all in one Mini’s post but then that would defeat my purpose of the Minis feature because I’m supposed to not write long posts for that. So watch out for several Mini reviews soon!

Anyway, I haven’t read many children’s picture books lately — in fact, I can’t remember when was the last time I read one. Ever since Filipino ReaderCon, though, and being a part of the Readers’ Choice Awards committee, I’ve been curious, so I thought I’d start reading them every now and then. Hey, there’s nothing wrong with being kids every now and then, right? :)

Brightest by Johann de Venecia, Joanne Crisner, Josephine Litonjua Brightest by Johann de Venecia and Joanne Crisner
Publisher: Isshin Dream Publishing
Number of pages:  50
My copy: free copy from publisher

A story about a lost firefly catcher, trying to find his way home… and a broken firefly that had long lost himself. And how friendship and being there for each other made a difference in their lives.

* * *

I received a copy of Brightest during our 7th Face to Face discussion for our book club, where Jho, from Isshin Dream Publishing, gave away copies. I was curious, and I have a soft spot for local, self-published books, so I got one and read it immediately the next day after the event (when I’ve caught up on sleep, that is). :) Brightest is the story of a firefly catcher who got lost trying to find his way home. As he went through the forest, he runs into a broken firefly who was also lost — lost long ago, and has given up on finding himself again.

I liked it. The illustrations were gorgeous, as well as the printing — it was such a pretty book that I almost didn’t want it to end. It felt like a good bed time story, something that parents would read to kids who don’t feel like sleeping, or at least, to read to kids who have trouble sleeping in fear of nightmares. I guess the older reader in me just started questioning some things, like why exactly was the firefly broken? I didn’t quite get that, but maybe that’s me over thinking it.

Overall, though, Brightest was a lovely book, and it’s one that I would probably give to my brother and sister-in-law once they have kids. :)

Rating:

The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein
Publisher: Harpoer Collins
Number of pages:  64
My copy: ebook

‘Once there was a tree…and she loved a little boy.’
So begins a story of unforgettable perception, beautifully written and illustrated by the gifted and versatile Shel Silverstein.
Every day the boy would come to the tree to eat her apples, swing from her branches, or slide down her trunk…and the tree was happy. But as the boy grew older he began to want more from the tree, and the tree gave and gave and gave.
This is a tender story, touched with sadness, aglow with consolation. Shel Silverstein has created a moving parable for readers of all ages that offers an affecting interpretation of the gift of giving and a serene acceptance of another’s capacity to love in return.

* * *

The Giving Tree was one of the books lined up for our book club’s December discussion. It lost the face to face voting last Saturday, and one of my co-moderators said that this book is relevant reading now, especially to what has been happening with the floods and all that in our country in the past week. So yesterday when I got home, I decided to read it (the shortness of the book is also a factor why I decided to do that).

The Giving Tree is about a tree and a boy, and the tree loved the boy. So much that the tree gave him everything he asked for, even if the boy (who grew up to be a man) didn’t seem to return the same kind of love that the tree has for him. This book is both heartwarming and sad, because there is such truth in this book. I didn’t know if I would be happy or sad when I was done — I was pretty sure I felt both.

It’s interesting how a book can sum up what loving really means in less than 100 pages, and with simple words and illustrations. Yes, I think The Giving Tree is relevant to us as far as the environment goes, but I think the book is more relevant because it just shows one of the many, many aspects of true love: giving without expecting anything in return.

I think we all need a reminder of that every now and then. I know I do.

Rating: