The Beach Trees is a Good Summer Read!
By See Kori Rant on July 26, 2011
In her novel The Beach Trees, Karen White explores the themes of disaster and hope, pain and healing, with what seems remarkable insight. In this book, we hear the same story through different people, and somehow at the end Karen White ties them all together in a way that shows the reader the true big picture.
Although I am typically not a fan of books that go from one person's narrative to another, nor am a overly fond of going back into the past and then jumping into the present. However, when I read this book and heard the stories of both Julie and Aimee, there didn't really seem to be any other way to make both their stories known AND tie them together. Julie travels to New Orleans with keys to a house she has inherited and a young boy she seems to have inherited as well. For her to understand why her friend Monica entrusted her with these precious gifts and to make some sense of her own history, Julie must hear the things Aimee has to say. By the same token, for Aimee to find clues to why her grand-daughter Monica left home, she needs to be able to share her history with someone who knew her well and more recently.
This books also talks about how the people of New Orleans began to rebuild after Hurricane Katrina, and the kinds of people who move back in and start over. After the initial horror of the hurricane subsided somewhat, I truly never thought much about the people who rebuilt, or wondered why they did. That part of the book was very poignant, as Karen White wove her tale of devastation and how certain kind of people can not only overcome but thrive in the face of it.
There was much to enjoy about this book for me, from the way Julie is forced to make peace with her own past to how we can somehow find our way back to home and family, even if they aren't the ones we were born to. I would recommend it to any woman who is simply looking to find her way.
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