The Eagle Tree was one of the Kindle first choices for last month. I ended up picking three books, so I got one early and the other two on the first. I loved the idea of having a book written as if narrated by an autistic teen. Peter “March” Wong is brilliant about trees, but so much else confuses and upsets him. Humans are not logical; they don’t make sense like a tree. Religion is also hard for him to grasp, not being able to actually see it.
We first meet March shortly after his mother and he move into a new home. His father is living apart in Arizona. March’s mother is having difficulty keeping him safe and cared for, even with the help of Uncle Mike. All March wants to do is climb trees, but after an accident their first night in the new house there are many new rules. Throughout the book, you see his need of schedule and normalcy. The only time he feels free is when he climbs.
While in the neighbor’s tree he sees a tall tree that he thinks might be unique, as they don’t normally grow there. Uncle Mike takes him to see the large tree, but his mother has already forbidden him to climb it. Climbing another tree, March sees a marbled murrelet which is endangered.
As the story progresses, March finds that the area housing the Eagle Tree (the tall tree he saw) has been sold and would be cleared. He has to go far from his comfort zone to save the trees. He makes friends and interacts with people that can help talks in public and forces himself to think more clearly. I loved being able to see the progress.
Personally, I love this book. I felt like March was one of the most unique narrative voices I had ever found. Autism is often misunderstood. These are very bright children, or those that I know are. It is difficult to explain and organize their thoughts sometimes as their mind works differently. A boy I know was already doing complicated computer programming at ten, but had issues remembering to moderate his voice, and at times articulating thoughts. There was never any doubt of his intelligence, just how to bring it out. Well, that and getting him to pay attention to anything not technological. Someday, I want to give him this book, so he can feel a kinship to March like I do. I think he would understand and resonate with this character. In truth, I wasn’t ready to let the boy go, which I guess is the key to a well written character.
This book came out 5/01/2016 and I think everyone should read it!
On the adult content scale, there was little to nothing. Some accidents, perhaps, and the odd curse. I give it a two.
Link to book: