Saturday, May 21, 2016

Blog Tour/Review: The Eagle Tree by Ned Hayes

About The Eagle Tree

• Paperback: 270 pages
• Publisher: Little A (July 5, 2016)

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 part of a family, a society, and the natural world that surrounds and connects us.

This is a book  I was mixed about. The main character, March Wong, was someone I didn't relate to at all. He's a teenage, autistic boy who is obsessed with trees and is a firm believer in global warming but doesn't believe in God (he does attend church with his mother, though). I do, however, like to read books like this to give me a different perspective. I could only read in small doses because all the tree talk felt like I was reading a textbook at times.

What I did enjoy was March's interactions with others. He was smart but had a hard time communicating. His father  moved to Arizona for a job and March was resistant to moving there since there weren't any trees to climb. He and his mother moved to a new house which threw him off. He loved to climb trees and became obsessed with one particular tree and was willing to do whatever he could to save it. March was a character to cheer for. There were times he needed to get out of his comfort zone and he showed growth throughout the book. 

Overall, this book was okay to me. I think I would have liked it more if we heard from some of the other characters, especially his mother and Uncle Mike. And I definitely could have done with less tree talk. The book started out slow but did pick up towards the end.

My Rating=3 Stars
Source: Received a copy from the publisher for an honest review


“Every human experience is unique, but The Eagle Tree provides insight into one distinctive and uniquely important perspective. The descriptions of climbing in The Eagle Tree get deep into the mathematical pattern-based sensory world of a person with autism. The experience of navigating a tree climb is described with mathematical and sensory detail that seems very authentic to me.” —Temple Grandin, PhD, author of Thinking in Pictures and Emergence: Labeled Autistic

The Eagle Tree is a gorgeously written novel that features one of the most accurate, finely drawn and memorable autistic protagonists in literature. The hero of the book is like a 14-year-old Walt Whitman with autism, seeking communion with the ancient magnificent beings that tower over the landscape around Olympia, Washington. Ned Hayes plays with the conventions of the unreliable narrator so that you end up feeling like March is a very reliable narrator of glorious and terrifying aspects of the world that neurotypicals can’t see. Credible, authentic, powerful. A must-read.” —Steve Silberman, author of NeuroTribes: The Legacy of Autism and the Future of Neurodiversity, winner of Samuel Johnson Prize for Non-Fiction

The Eagle Tree portrays a teenager who is believable and lovable. March, the main character, is a living, breathing person with significant challenges who is so realistic I feel I know him. I have not enjoyed an autistic novel as much since The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-TimeThe Eagle Tree’s beautifully written narrator is a real joy—March Wong is an unexpected leader who remains true to himself and prevails. This novel of family and forest will leave an indelible mark on your heart.” —Susan Senator, New York Times featured author of Making Peace with Autism and Autism Adulthood

“A wonderful read! To say that the narrator’s mind is unusual would not be correct. His mind is simply and marvelously unique like yours and mine. Or rather, like yours and mine could be if we lifted the eyes of our hope to the crowns of trees and listened to the voice of our neglected spirit. The Eagle Tree will remind you of the beauty and truth you may have forgotten.” —Francisco X. Stork, award-winning author of Marcelo in the Real World

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About Ned Hayes

Ned Hayes holds an MFA in creative writing from the Rainier Writing Workshop at Pacific Lutheran University. His historical novel, Sinful Folk, was nominated for the Pacific Northwest Booksellers Association Award.

The Eagle Tree is based on his past experience working with children on the autistic spectrum and on family and friends he knows and loves. He lives with his wife and children in Olympia, Washington.

More about Ned Hayes can be found at Connect with him on Twitter.

Tour Stops

Friday, May 20th: Mel’s Shelves
Saturday, May 21st: Show This Book Some Love
Monday, May 23rd: A Lovely Bookshelf on the Wall
Tuesday, May 24th: 100 Pages a Day…Stephanie’s Book Reviews
Wednesday, May 25th: Tina Says…
Thursday, May 26th: I’m Shelf-ish
Friday, May 27th: Not in Jersey
Monday, May 30th: Lectus
Tuesday, May 31st: No More Grumpy Bookseller
Wednesday, June 1st: Patricia’s Wisdom
Thursday, June 2nd: Worth Getting in Bed For
Monday, June 6th: BookNAround
Tuesday, June 7th: She’s Got Books On Her Mind
Wednesday, June 8th: My So-Called Book Reviews
Thursday, June 9th: Hopelessly Devoted Bibliophile
Friday, June 10th: Helen’s Book Blog


Heather J @ TLC Book Tours said...

I don't think I could identify personally with March but his passion for trees really appeals to me.

Thanks for being a part of the tour!

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