Friday, July 8, 2011

The Blackberry Bush a novel by David Housholder

The Blackberry Bush by David Housholder is a novel that is a little bit historical fiction, a little bit current fiction, a little bit future fiction, that takes readers through the lives of distant cousins who are related in ways their families do not know, born on different continents on the same day in 1989 (the day, the actual moment that the Berlin Wall came down).

We follow Josh and Kati, their unknown connection to one another, even though they don't know one another, and we learn the back story that connects them. We see them grow as we learn what factors from the past play roles in who these individuals become.

The story makes me wonder about my back story.

I thought that this book would be a novel that I would read for the mere pleasure of it, the pleasure of being taken far away, a respite from recent challenges of moving across the country, settling into a new place with three children, including one w/ autism. It wasn't the easy pleasure read I was expecting, and honestly, for me, would have been better saved for another time, a time when I have more space and energy for a book with layers of symbolism and meaning, a book that prompts a deep look inside me at times.

I typically read magazines from back to front; not with books. I do wish I'd have looked at the back of this book first. Reading the interview with the author and the section of questions for reflection and/or book clubs would have helped me frame the story as I began it.

Housholder gives us a genealogy outline of the characters and he gives us maps that, quite frankly, are not useful for me until I have met the characters and can put them into some sort of context in my mind. I struggled to follow the story told out of order, switching chapter to chapter from recent past, to World War II past, to present, to future.

Having said that, the story is interesting and kept me coming back to learn what happens next when I had to put the book down to drive a child to camp or make a meal or do laundry. It is a book that I suspect that I would like to read again with my new perspective and insight now that I've read the author interview and book club study questions. I was challenged to process all the layers of meaning and symbols in just one reading as I tried to connect the back story to the story of the two main characters. (Perhaps I had too many interruptions.) I think I would enjoy discussing The Blackberry Bush in a group setting, which would allow me to process it aloud in relationship with others.

The book is a 204 page paperback list priced at $14.99. (A pet peeve: The edges of the pages are annoyingly, deliberately uneven and torn, making it difficult for me to turn just one page.)

The web site for the book is HERE. Be sure to check it out; the author has put a great deal of information there, including the author interview and study guide that I wish I'd read first.

David Housholder blogs HERE.

The Blackberry Bush
has a facebook page HERE.
The B&B Media Group sent me a review copy of The Blackberry Bush. I was not paid for this review and am not obligated to provide a positive review.

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