Friday, September 30, 2016

September Book(s) Reveiw: The Family Tree Series by Ann M Martin

I am a longtime fan of Ann M Martin. Looooong time. I was obsessed with the Babysitters Club books until I was far too old (I have them all) and hey, I still enjoy the occasional reread. After that I discovered the Main Street book series that Martin penned as well. Those books are wonderful too.

A few years back, M started reading The Family Tree series when the first two were out. I joined her and am forever happy that I did. Yes, these are "kids books" probably aimed at the 10-13 age group. But kids books are not exclusively for kids! They have so much merit for all ages.

The Family Tree series is a quartet. They follow four generations of girls/women as they grow up in various time periods during the 20th century. Each girl is unique. Thoughtful, determined Abby from book one. Dana, Abby's daughter, stubborn and driven in book two. Dana's daughter Francie is earnest and kind in book three. Finally, there is Francie's daughter Georgia who is inquisitive and headstrong. And yet, despite their differences, they share the same blood, the same bond. They are all creative, be it art or writing or music. They are all connected with secrets and memories shared between them.

I loved journeying through time with Abby, Dana, Francie and Georgia. Martin captures each decade and historical event without cliches. She beautifully crafts scenic landscapes and small quiet moments. There is nothing "kiddish" about these books. The writing is elevated and the content should appeal to all.

Like in Martin's other series, she tackles a variety of hard topics over the course of these four generations. There is bigotry, disability, suicide, death, poverty, illness, crime...all of it. And yet, nothing is overestimated. Each topic is handled with originality and care.

Above all, these books contain a heavy theme of family unity and bond. It isn't until the end that all four of these women are together and mend fences and share secrets that have been causing rifts in certain relationships. These books remind you that the bonds of mothers and daughters is stronger than any outside force. It's really quite beautiful. 

Bravo Ann M Martin, on another job well done.

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