Mother Trees


Fiction - Historical - Event/Era
274 Pages
Reviewed on 03/29/2019
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    Book Review

Reviewed by K.C. Finn for Readers' Favorite

Mother Trees is a work of historically focused fiction penned by author G. G. Grit. Set during the difficult times of the sixties and seventies in Louisiana, the story first focuses on white girl Berti Van der Haar. Growing up in the time of desegregation proves both interesting and difficult for young Berti, as her elementary school and local neighborhood change rapidly around her. Berti is progressive and bright, but when she befriends newcomer and black student Roger, tensions rise at home. The tale continues as people grow and attitudes shift, and Berti and Roger rise to own their true identities and power against the ignorance all around them.

Author G. G. Grit has created an inspiring and highly emotive work of fiction based very closely on real history and the true experiences that so many people went through during the age of desegregation. Roger and Berti’s story is told with great compassion, not only for the progressive people being downtrodden, but also for those for whom the veil of ignorance has not yet been lifted. Whilst some people never change, this thoughtful and well-penned novel shows how attitudes can shift if some front-runners are brave enough to set a powerful example and give hope to the future. The dialogue was particularly effective in evoking that southern state era where everything began to change, and the atmosphere, both political and personal, reels off every page due to the high quality and attention to detail in the writing. Overall, Mother Trees is a superb cultural and historical work, not to be missed.

Edith Wairimu

Set in the 60s and 70s, Mother Trees by G. G. Grit is told through the eyes of a young and perceptive Bernadette Sylvie Van der Haar. Berti is born in Louisiana and soon becomes aware of the cruelty so present in the world around her. She wakes up one night to see a cross burning in their compound. Despite not fully grasping the message intended by the perpetrators, she begins to question their motive. In school, she becomes friend with Roger, a bubbly African American boy with a gift in music and whose friendship Berti will cherish forever. Still, she does not understand why so many adults judge others by the color of their skin and pass on their attitude to their children. As the story continues, Berti begins to identify the underlying insecurities that lie within many. She is, however, determined to change their outlook and defend her friends.

G. G. Grit’s Mother Trees is amazingly profound not only to children but also to adults. The main character, Berti, is loving and strong-minded. Her naivety and innocence create an opportunity to see the world in an uncomplicated way and to view people for who they are. The book also explores themes prominent in the era and exposes the challenges of standing for truth in a culture accustomed to segregation. The conversations are entertaining and they carry powerful truths. Mother Trees inspires courage and love even in a world more familiar to hate. It is timely and a must-read for anyone who wants to be motivated to stand for love, truth and the acceptance of diversity.

Gisela Dixon

Mother Trees by G. G. Grit is a historical fiction novel set in the second half of the twentieth century in America. It is set in Louisiana during the era of the Civil Rights movements and desegregation. In the story, Berti is a young white girl living in Louisiana with her siblings and family. In the early days of desegregation in schools and neighborhoods, as a child she observes certain realities and discrimination based on race or religion. In the beginning of the book itself, we get a sense of this as we witness a cross burning as an intimidation tactic commonly used in those days. As she questions her family and tries to understand these realities, she also gets to know her black classmates as well as some black neighbors, which also helps to form her own opinion about humanity and equality. This is a richly woven story about racism in America mainly through the eyes of a young white girl growing up in this environment.

I really liked Mother Trees and thought that the author has done a great job in bringing alive a picture in front of our eyes of the era of segregation and the Civil Rights movement. Many younger people of the current generation don’t know what racism and sexism looked 100 years or even 50 years ago. Books like these can be greatly useful for educational purposes. At the same time, the fast-paced, engaging, thought-provoking writing style makes this a good read as well and I didn’t even realize when I finished the book since it kept me so engrossed. All of the characters are quite well drawn and Berti especially brings just the right amount of maturity as well as child-like curiosity in her character. I would recommend this book!