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Posted December 29, 2012
Reviewed by Gayani Hathurusingha for Readers Favorite
"You're not mine." That had been Bushy's excuse to inflict torture on his son, Kramer, the adult narrator recollecting his past in David Nelson's remarkable novel "The Shade Tree Choir." Returning to his childhood hometown on the event of his father's funeral, Kramer finds that he returns to a changed world. Going for a walk in the neighborhood, he feels the pain of the old scars etched within him. The novel focuses on the childhood innocence that he once experienced as a teenager growing up in a very unpleasant household with both parents addicted to alcohol. The plot gives way to the narrator's attempt to reconcile his past.
The flashback of the protagonist, on which the plot is constructed, is saturated with details of childhood escapades. The story runs on the dual layers of the psychological aspects of a failing parent-child relationship and the childhood adventures woven around the image of a magnificent Elm tree, which functions as a meeting point for the children of the neighborhood. The diversity of the plot contributes much to make the reading a pleasure. The novel contains a combination of tragic elements and subtle comedy. Thus, "The shade tree choir" becomes a deep analysis of human relationships both positive and negative. Moreover, David Nelson makes the reader realize the change, especially the change of attitudes which comes hand in hand with the passage of time. David Nelson persuades his reader to sympathize with a once-brutal man, and with his sentimental narrative style and the unique way of characterization, he creates a compelling novel.
Posted November 8, 2012
For most children, when they feel endangered, the source of safety is to go home. For a child who grows up with an alcoholic, it’s the opposite – home is dangerous, and safety lies in being anywhere else. The safe haven of home is essential for a child, and the loss of that sanctuary is a devastating experience. The Shade Tree Choir captures that essence in a raw and powerful telling of the story of a child who grew up with a violent and abusive alcoholic. “Don’t cry, or I’ll give you something to cry about” is a phrase well understood by those who grew up under similar conditions – and David Nelson tells that story with a rawness that rekindles the emotions of that turbulent and totally unpredictable way of life. It is a powerful story, well told.
Though there may be greater understanding of that life looking back as an adult, the emotional scars always remain. “I will never forget and never understand why he did all that stuff to me.” There is no rational explanation for the abuse the child suffered in that house Though there can be incredible healing, physical and emotional abuse is a legacy that only those who went through similar can fully appreciate, and which resonates deeply through this gut wrenching telling of the tale. Anyone who wants to understand a child who grew up with an alcoholic will gain incredible depth perception by reading The Shade Tree Choir.
Posted September 21, 2012
David Nelson's book is an "easy read", but this story is not easy to read. Alcoholism, child abuse, poverty, neglect - all described from a child's perspective in a matter-of-fact narrative that keeps the reader engrossed from beginning to end. For the reader and, I suspect, the book's protagonist, the mystery that propels us to the final page is the answer to the simple question, "Why?"Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted September 21, 2012
The Shade Tree Choir is a 'can't put it down' read. Through the eyes, thoughts, and raw feelings of eight-year-old Krame, you'll get an inside look at what many kids have and continue to struggle with in the real world and, perhaps, in your own backyard. Just as important, you'll experience the triumph in overcoming incredible odds.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted September 20, 2012
The Shade Tree Choir is for the realist. It is a most definite read for all who love stories of those emulating the phoenix and rising from the ashes. David Nelson takes you into the heart of the young man Krame and keeps you there, and into the hearts of his cohorts as well. A most enjoyable read!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.