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I was given a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
In defending his life-long friendship with Charlie, Will may have inadvertently had a hand in the growing chaos that leads to the horrifying night when his familiar world is shattered. When Will Wright, the eighteen year old son of a small-town Arkansas sheep herder in 1905, begins reading his mother’s journal, he is inspired by its startling content to start putting his own experiences to paper for posterity. An unsophisticated but principled young man, Will is becoming increasingly aware of the hatred that exists in the world. When he begins his own journal, Will can’t know what events are to take place in the next five years – from his mother’s battle with a life threatening illness, to his embarrassments of learning how to be in love for the first time, to witnessing Charlie’s fate at the hands of the bigoted townspeople. While part of him wishes the pain in those pages didn’t exist, he knows that the original purpose for keeping the journal has been realized – to show his kin how he became the man he is. He will probably never go back through and read again the pages he’s written, but someday, someone will, and they will see that along with the hurt, Will’s life had been one that knew true joy, absolute love, and undying friendship.
The book begins by Will explaining that he is writing this’ journal’ to show his kin how he became the man he is .He is inspired to do this after reading his own mother’s journals. The story goes on to detail the events in Will’s life, in his own words.
The story takes place in,Arkansas, in the first decade of the twentieth century. I haven’t read many novels that take in this time period. The decade falls between great changes in culture and great wars. Cars where beginning to appear but most people still thought of the horse as the main mode of transportation. Radios had not appeared in homes yet but many homes did begin to have telephones. It was a time of great transition for the country.
‘Take Me To The Willow’ took me completely by surprise. Coming into it, I really didn’t know much about the book. Once I started reading I literally couldn’t stop. Even though it is a simple journal of Will’s life, I found his story to be entirely engrossing. This is definitely a character driven novel but the most important theme in this novel is relationships. Symbolism was also important in the story. For example:The symbolism of the ‘Willow’ is important in the story and the importance is not totally understood until the end of the story.
I believe that ‘Take Me To The Willow’ is an amazing work of historical fiction and should be read by anyone who wants to understand American in the the 1900’s but also those who want to understand more about how wonderful and heartbreaking life can be.
One of my favorite quotes from the story: ‘Daddy always says, ‘aint no sense tryin’ to walk in a man’s shoes when your feet just ain’t the same size.’
I love this novel. Maybe one of my favorites that I’ve read so far this year. I give it five stars.
About the Author:
Shelly Brimley was born in Flagstaff, AZ, where she lived most of her life until moving to Mexico to study abroad. After graduation, Shelly did some volunteer work in Africa and completed her graduate degree while working in an adolescent drug treatment center. After acquiring her Master’s degree, she worked as a counselor at a residential shelter for children who had been smuggled and trafficked into the USA from different countries around the world. She also taught English to adult refugees before resigning to raise her children. Shelly wanted to use her experience working with others as a source of inspiration in her writing, offering a voice for those who are not typically heard or considered.
Website link – http://www.shellybrimley.com