The Sweet Gum Tree

The Sweet Gum Tree - Katherine Allred "A sweet gum is the chameleon of wood, its corky exteriors hiding its inner ability to imitate anything from cherry to mahogany. But its real value, one unrealized by most people, is its deep red heart, steady and strong. They see only the pale fibrous wood, easily warped, that surrounds its core."

So I know I'm more than most likely one of the few who didn't fall completely in love with this book. And there are several reasons why that is. But I always like to start with the positive so here we go. This book was very very well written. The story flowed effortlessly, and I found that it made the story just so much better. I am on the fence about the fact that it is clear that Alix is writing from the future, because while it was a nice little tease into the future at first, by the middle of the book, I wanted to scream at her, cause I'd already figured the second half out.

"Mother said god put each of us on this earth for a purpose, and that day, I decided mine was to save Nick Anderson."

Nick Anderson is a man who was robbed of a good life by all those who were supposed to love, and who professed to love him. That said, I loved Nick, from the moment we met him in that barn with those books, I was in love with the 10 year old nick. I was in lust with 20 year old Nick, and I was blown away by the strength and courage of 35 year old Nick. I wish that we could hear at least some of the story from his point of view. It was clear that though Nick didn't receive much love as child, he had a lot of love to give, and he gave it to all who were willing to receive it. For me he was just the best part of the book.

“You’re the only one I’ve ever wanted, Alix, the only one I’ll ever want. That’s a promise.”

Alix had many of the personality traits that i like in a female character. Starting with the fact that she's strong, and assertive, and goes for what she wants. She is determined, and nothing stops her, and she commands that people pay attention, and she will go by herself if she has to. But there were two things about Alix, that made me hate her, and made me not love the book. Firstly, she never wholly trusted Nick, and secondly and worst of all she was selfish. And that was what made the story so hard for me. I wanted her to be Nick's savior but for almost half of the book, I thought she was the reason he was suffering, while she constantly viewed him as the reason she was suffering.

"“Does anything?” Her gaze was piercing. “You walk and talk, you breathe and eat, you work and sleep, but you aren’t alive anymore. I thought once you got away...things might be different, but they aren’t. You’ve only changed location."

This book really is an examination of human characters, so many people were not who you thought they were, even to the very end, I found characters who I loved (or Alix loved) turned out be no good. And those who Alix hated (I knew better) turned out to be so noble themselves. I loved the story, but I think that if there was less angst and more adult conversation, I may have given it that extra star. But if you want a really human, really touching story, give this book a try.