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THE CROOKED TREE

The Crooked Tree

Family dynamics are at the heart of this novel as we meet Libby Gallagher, and her four sisters and brothers are traveling home from school when something happens that would change their lives and their perspectives forever. The decade is the 80’s and within the car a fight ensues when 12-year-old Ellen dares to mention their estranged father’s recent demise or death and their mother without thinking of the consequences that might happen demands that she walks home in the middle of the night on a lonely and desolate highway. The rest of the children are silent, and the mother is driving erratically not really concerned about their safety. No one said a word. The mother locked herself in her room, distant herself from her family as the younger children completed the chores that Ellen was supposed to do.  Our narrator Libby is fearful and must go babysitting for a neighbor who pays her 10 dollars for the night. Their lives are barely survivable, and their mother hardly has enough food to feed them in their pantry.

When Ellen does find her way, she goes to the house where Libby is babysitting, and her injuries are many. She is covered in blood, disoriented to a point and explains that she hitchhiked and the person in the car did try to abuse her sexually and that she ran out of the car but is concerned he might still find her. But her friends are many and they form a group to find this strange and wild looking man that she describes. Her sister Marie is about to leave home, her sister Libby loves nature, she could become a well-known artist and her two younger brother and sister are smart. Their mother seems out of the loop and is only concerned with someone named Bill just who he is yet to be revealed.

Symbols can mean something as the tree itself is a landmark but the lives of the children in this family are as slanted and crooked as the tree. A mother who is disconnected from the realities of life or her children’s needs and an older sister that leaves the family in disarray.

Libby is hard-nosed and her best friend Sage tries to help her deal with family issues but when she fetus betrayed by her and her friend Jack the dynamics change, and friendships are frayed.

Wilson McVay is odd and appears to want to help this family all the time. Mowing the lawn, giving rides and even helping their oldest sister pack up and move giving hers ride to the city. Referring to their mom by first name and even dealing with the Barbie Man who picked up Ellen. What is his reasoning and just how dangerous is this man?

Libby describes her feelings of anger and frustration in detail and often gets drunk which solves nothing.

Libby flashes back to her father’s last days and minutes and finds herself angry and  more than upset. Her friendship with Sage matters yet it falls apart at the slightest wrong word. Thomas is smart and studies a lot Ellen and Beatrice became her responsibility hoping to keep them away from Wilson and the Barbie Man who Thomas spoke with.

Fear is a natural part of her day and mind and Libby never seems to enjoy life , her mother four someone named Bill and forgets her children are even there most of the time.

Symbols can mean something as the tree itself is a landmark but the lives of the children in this family are as slanted and crooked as the tree. A mother who is disconnected from the realities of life or her children’s needs and an older sister that leaves the family in disarray.

Libby is hard-nosed and her best friend Sage tries to help her deal with family issues but when she fetus betrayed by her and her friend Jack the dynamics change, and friendships are frayed.

Wilson McVay is odd and appears to want to help this family all the time. Mowing the lawn, giving rides and even helping their oldest sister pack up and move giving hers ride to the city. Referring to their mom by first name and even dealing with the Barbie Man who picked up Ellen. What is his reasoning and just how dangerous is this man?

Libby describes her feelings of anger and frustration in detail and often gets drunk which solves nothing.

Libby flashes back to her father’s last days and minutes and finds herself angry sad and more than upset. Her friendship with Sage matters yet it falls apart at the slightest wrong word. Thomas is smart and studies a lot Ellen and Beatrice became her responsibility hoping to keep them away from Wilson and the Barbie Man who Thomas spoke with.

Fear is a natural part of her day and mind and Libby never seems to enjoy life , her mother four someone named Bill and forgets her children are even there most of the time.

Teens at each other’s throats and a secret that gets out that ruins a friendship and more. The parade of costumes was supposed to be fun so how did Ellen disappear and why did Wilson become a victim and who exactly if Barbie .Man. Sage and  Libby were best friends when Marie learns what Libby told the result is tragic in many respects. Ellen is found and wants the incident hidden from their mom who is not home but in North Carolina with Beatrice.

Things get tense after Ellen disappears and Thomas and Wilson take aim at Barbie Man as the situation gets out of hand and lives change. The author delivers a story that is often tragic, sad and at time hopeful as all Libby wants is a normal family live but in the end the shocking ending and where the families on the Mountain wind up leaf you to wonder if their stories are over or there is more to be told.

The characters at time seem disjointed and disconnected from each other. The mother more self-centered and concerned with her own needs. Lives are at a fragile position and the Gallagher family has lost its direction unless they find the pathway back to the Crooked Tree.

Fran lewis just reviews

About Just Reviews by:gabina49:

author educator book reviewer for authors reading and writing staff developer Book reviewer for manic readers, ijustfinished.com book pleasures and authors upon request blog tours on my blog and interviews with authors I am the author of five published books. I wrote three children's books in my Bertha Series and Two on Alzheimer's. Radio show talk host on Red River Radio/Blog Talk Radio Book Discussion with Fran Lewis the third Wed. of every month at one eastern. I interview 2 authors each month feature their latest releases. I review books for authors upon request and my latest book Sharp As A Tack or Scrambled Eggs Which Describes Your Brain? Is an E book, Kindle and on Xlibris.com Some of the proceeds from this last book will go to fund research in the area of Brain Traumatic Injury in memory of my sister Marcia who died in July.

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