Monday, July 23, 2012

Sweet Gum Tree by Katherine Allred

5 Stars

Sweet tea, corn bread, and soup beans-everyday fare for eight-year-old Alix French, the precocious darling of a respected southern family. But nothing was ordinary about the day she met ten-year-old Nick Anderson, a boy from the wrong side of town. Armed with only a tin of bee balm and steely determination, Alix treats the raw evidence of a recent beating that mars his back, an act that changes both of their lives forever. Through childhood disasters and teenage woes they cling together as friendship turns to love. The future looks rosy until the fateful night when Frank Anderson, Nick's abusive father, is shot to death in his filthy trailer. Suddenly, Nick is gone-leaving Alix alone, confused and pregnant. For the next fifteen years she wrestles with the pain of Nick's abandonment, a bad marriage, her family and friends. But finally, she's starting to get her life back together. Her divorce is almost final, her business is booming, and she's content if not happy -- until the day she looks up and sees Nick standing across the counter. He's back...and he's not alone. Once again Alix is plunged into turmoil and pain as Nick tries to win her love, something she resists with all her strength. Only one thing might break the protective wall she's built around her emotions-the truth about Frank Anderson's death. But when that truth comes out and those walls crumble, neither Alix nor Nick is prepared for the emotional explosion that could destroy as well as heal. description

My thoughts before reading: This was another recommendation from one of my best girls. I always seem to love the books she recommends so I bumped it to the top of my TBR. I will add this. I absolutely HATE overly informative descriptions. I dont want to feel as if I have read the book before I ever open it and start the first page. I read the first half of the Amazon description shown above and looked away. Do you know how hard it is to cut and paste and try NOT to see what something says. Let me tell you, it is not easy......
My After thoughts;  Wow, what can I say. I was an emotional wreck while reading this book. You start out on this journey when the characters are very young. Alix is the most feisty little 8 year old I have ever met. She knows who she is and she doesn't care what the world thinks. And she has a heart that is big as all of the outdoors. 
  As a born and raised country girl I loved the setting of this story, small town country living, everyone knowing everyone. This is the life I grew up with and the life I am raising my children in. It was nice to see that and be able to totally relate with it. I loved the flow of the story and how you watch the characters as they grow up. And at the end of every chapter she gives you that little glimpse of things to come with a well placed, "little did I know" or "what happened next". And then you are left waiting to see exactly what it is that she is referring to.
  I will not pretend that this was an everything is rosy and perfect love story. It is NOT. What it is, is a journey through the lives of exceptional people who were hardened by circumstance and found a way to over come it. Mistakes are made. Hearts are broken. More mistakes are made. The question is whether or not these beautiful people can learn to overcome all of lives stumbling blocks and pitfalls. This book was recommended to me by a friend and due to my emotional outburst somewhere around Chapter 11. Several other ladies in my online book group have started this book as well, and are giving it stellar reviews. I hope you enjoy it the same as I do.

Happy Reading!! :-)

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