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Book Review: Up High in the Trees

June 22, 2009

This book caught my attention at the library from the interesting cover. It came home with me because it was described as narrated by a young boy who experienced the world from a unique perspective, and I’m a sucker for children’s narrations.

This is a story told by Sebby Lane, an eight-year-old living with his father & older brother and sister, and tells, from Sebby’s perspective, the impact his mother’s sudden death has on the family.

I enjoyed the child’s voice. The short chapters (often only 2-3 pages) alternated between the events unfolding at present & some unique memories those events brought to mind. It was fascinating to see the connections this fictitious child made, and how much he intuitively understood without fully comprehending the reasons behind or effects of events. The narrative was unique and interesting because it was through a child’s voice.

At the same time, some events in the story seemed sudden, extreme, and unlikely. Sebby’s father, who seems gloomy and dejected throughout the book, seems to suddenly and unexpectedly breakdown when he’s found hiding under a bed at a dinner party. Similar sudden character shifts are exhibited by Sebby’s brother and sister, and to a degree from Sebby himself at the abrupt end of the novel.

It’s possible that while the narration lends itself to a perspective that highlights unique and interesting observations, it overlooks important elements of the character’s development that left me puzzled and thinking, “that’s it?”

Overall, it was a unique book, a quick read, and worth a try.

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