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Reviewed by Tammy Ruggles for Readers' Favorite
Roots, Branches & Buzz Saws: More Stories of August Kibler by TP Graf is an insightful novel about what shapes a life. This story centers on August Kibler, a man who dies. His friend Tyler Ethan Marvel-Jemison is also Kibler's executor and discovers a file on his friend's computer post-death that unlocks the life and times of the man. The Daisy Cafe is the place where August met his friends Tyler, Johnny, and Jimmy. We travel with Kibler as he makes his way from a country township in Ohio to Indiana, then to Louisiana, and on to North Carolina. The file reveals the ups and downs in his life, including abuse, regret, and hardship. The Hope Mennonite tenets of loving God, self, and others are also expressed in the lives and actions of the characters in this book. Some of the characters are a carryover from the book As The Daisies Bloom but there are new ones as well.
This book is a perfect example of how each life is valuable and is a story to tell. Any person's life is worth documenting, even in a fictional way. Graf has crafted an interesting, entertaining, and sometimes touching account of how our lives are shaped, changed, harmed, or enriched by the people that we meet. The author shows that no one is an island and that we are the product of both nature and nurture. I liked so much about this book, but the premise itself is what is most intriguing, at least to me: An executor opens a file that reveals much more to his friend than meets the eye. It makes you wonder what you yourself would document in your own file, and how you may or may not have affected those you encounter. The characters in this book are realistic, with memorable personalities and unique situations and settings. You'll come to appreciate August Kibler's life, his love of trees, his thoughts on faith, and the nuances found. And, in a way, we appreciate the author too for reminding us that each life is important and impactful. Roots, Branches & Buzz Saws: More Stories of August Kibler by TP Graf is the perfect slice-of-life novel.