Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Up High In the Trees by Kiara Brinkman

I didn't know much about Up High in the Trees when I ordered it from Amazon, nor when I began reading it. I chose the book because I had read posts by Kiara Brinkman on The Nervous Breakdown a while back and remembered liking them. When I heard she had a book out I ordered it purely based on that. So I was delighted to find that I actually liked the book.

Up High in the Trees isn't a typical novel. It's told in vignettes from the viewpoint of 8-year-old Sebastian Lane, whose mother has just died. Because I hadn't read the cover of the book, I first thought Sebby was autistic. He takes note of a lot of colors and intricate details of spaces. He also likes to sit under tables, in closets or curl up in small, dark places. It isn't until a few chapters in that we learn this is a coping reaction to his mother's death (this isn't a spoiler! The cover talks about his mother's death). Sebby learns to cope in other ways and even begins making new friends as the book moves forward. At the same time his dad has some type of breakdown and Sebby and his older brother and sister have to fend for themselves for awhile.

This book was particularly interesting to me because it takes place in the fall and covers an election year (1992, when Bill Clinton was first elected). I read the Halloween scene on Halloween and the election part near the election so it made it seem that much more real. Anyway, I don't feel like I've really done a great job of explaining this book. I enjoyed this novel because it was so different than other books I've read this year, mostly because the voice throughout is that of an 8-year-old, which makes it pretty unique. I enjoyed being in the mind of an 8-year-old for a couple of days. I think Brinkman did a great job of conveying how confused a child can be about something as tragic as a death, especially when everyone tries to help the child by keeping things from him/her. This book shows how a child might use their imagination to make up a different reality when the facts are lacking in his life.

If you're interested in reading this book, I'll be giving away my copy. It was already used when I bought it so it has a little wear, but it's still FREE. And who doesn't love free, right? So leave a comment below and I'll pick a winner Dec. 1. Also, don't forget to enter my M.J. Rose giveaway.

16 comments:

m. doll said...

Lately I've been reading some books about some pretty odd subjects -- conjoined twins! Hermaphrodites! -- so I've been looking for something a little sweeter, a little calmer. I think I'm going to request this from the library right now.

beastmomma said...

This sounds very interesting. I would be interested in winning your copy. Thanks for the chance.

Susan Helene Gottfried said...

Hey, Becca. I've got this posted at Win a Book; no need to enter me. If you have other stuff you'd like us to post about, drop us an e-mail. We love e-mail!

AmandaSue said...

This sounds like a wonderful book, I love books that are told from a child's view. Thank you for entering me.

Shooting Stars Mag said...

Oh, how interesting! This definitely sounds like something I'd enjoy. Please enter me. I'd love to read it!!

-Lauren
lauren51990 at aol dot com

darbyscloset said...

What an interesting find you have there....not one you see everywhere!
I'd like to read after reading your review.
Thanks!
Darby
darbyscloset at yahoo dot com

Just.Me said...

Reuse & recycle...the best kind of book. Sounds like a powerful read and I would like to be included in the drawing. Thanks for the opportunity.

Laura said...

I don't know if I have read a book from the viewpoint of an 8-year-old boy. It sounds like an interesting and touching story. No need to enter me for the giveaway--I'm really trying to get my TBR books under control. Great review though!

stacey @ bookthirty said...

This looks like an intriguing read! And can I say - the cover is kind of haunting, isn't it? Thanks for the giveaway!

Amber said...

Please enter me and thank you for the giveaway.

hurdler4eva(at)gmail(dot)com

Carolyn said...

Seeing life through a childs point of view brings us to another point in time, which we have mostly forgotten. And sharing his thoughts during such tragic and event has to be heart wrenching. I would love to read this book. Thanks so much for sharing

ceashark at aol dot com

Grishny said...

I got this from my local library this weekend based on your recommendation... I started reading it Saturday afternoon, and 24 hours later I'd finished the book. I can't remember the last time I read a book that I finished this quickly or that was that difficult to put down. Thanks for the awesome tip!

Becca said...

Grishny: That's awesome! I'm glad you liked it. I went through it really quickly at first too, but had to put it down so I could start on The Memorist.

A Real Librarian said...

Thanks for the chance to win this book! It sounds really interesting!

areallibrarian[at]gmail[dot]com

Beth Kephart said...

I love stories told newly; this seems to be one. I'd never heard of it before, and I thank you for explicating it here.

Sandra said...

I enjoyed your review. I really want to read this book now. Thanks for reviewing it.