The Eagle Tree by Ned Hayes

The Eagle Tree by Ned HayesThe Eagle Tree by Ned Hayes
Published by Little A on May 1, 2016
Pages: 262
Source: I received a copy of this book from the publisher via TLC Book Tours for review consideration.
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three-stars

Fourteen-year-old March Wong knows everything there is to know about trees. They are his passion and his obsession, even after his recent falls—and despite the state’s threat to take him away from his mother if she can’t keep him from getting hurt. But the young autistic boy cannot resist the captivating pull of the Pacific Northwest’s lush forests just outside his back door.
One day, March is devastated to learn that the Eagle Tree—a monolithic Ponderosa Pine near his home in Olympia—is slated to be cut down by developers. Now, he will do anything in his power to save this beloved tree, including enlisting unlikely support from relatives, classmates, and even his bitter neighbor. In taking a stand, March will come face-to-face with some frightening possibilities: Even if he manages to save the Eagle Tree, is he risking himself and his mother to do it?
Intertwining themes of humanity and ecology, The Eagle Tree eloquently explores what it means to be part of a family, a society, and the natural world that surrounds and connects us.

The Eagle Tree is written in a first-person narrative from the perspective of March, an autistic fourteen-year-old boy. My first thought was: How accurate is this portrayal, especially given that the author himself is not autistic? According to at least one reviewer who is on the spectrum, this was very well done.

The narrative was definitely a challenge for me, and took some getting used to. But then there was the constant tree chatter. March knows his stuff, but paragraphs upon paragraphs of botanical minutiae really slowed down the storyline. I found myself feeling completely bogged down. It took me much longer to read this book than it should have.

On the flip side, March makes me pause to consider how impatient we are with each other. So there’s that.

There are some intensely beautiful moments in The Eagle Tree. The way March sees the world around him. His appreciation for nature, down to the smallest detail. His interpretation of the way society does things combined with his need to have insignificant things explained in great detail—that makes one think about why society does things the way we do, about the point of some of the rules we have. I can’t help but appreciate that.

Overall, this book didn’t blow me away, but I’m definitely glad I read it.

Thanks to TLC Book Tours for giving me the opportunity to read this book and including me on the book tour! 

three-stars
  • HeatherTLC

    Getting an “insiders perspective” on being autistic sounds like a very eye-opening experience.

    Thanks for being a part of the tour!

  • I felt the same when I read The Signature of All Things. Felt the paragraphs about botany, slowed down the story for me. I might be alone in this