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Reviewed by Emily-Jane Hills Orford for Readers' Favorite
The Persimmon Tree Narrative by Michael Brookshire reminds us that we all need someone to talk to, someone who understands all of our thoughts, our fears, and our hopes and dreams. For Mike, that someone was the persimmon tree adjacent to his back porch. Yes, a tree. He was equally surprised when Tree (for lack of a better name, that’s how Mike addressed him…or her), suddenly spoke to him. It wasn’t out loud but inside Mike’s head. Only Mike could hear what Tree was saying. At first, Mike thought he was going crazy. Tree assured him he wasn’t crazy and that they would share some enlightening conversations. But there were some rules – four, to be exact. Imagine having rules about what two enlightened minds can communicate. In short, Tree had full control and could choose what to discuss and when to communicate and Mike was not to share his conversations with anyone else. It turns into a six-year relationship, one that not only inspires Mike’s mind and his perspective on life, especially when tragedy strikes Mike’s family. This relationship also develops into one which allows Mike to share something with Tree: his insatiable sense of humor.
Michael Brookshire’s riveting tale, The Persimmon Tree Narrative, reads like a memoir, a piece of creative nonfiction that is both intellectual and inspiring, as well as packed with humor, grief, and all the diverse emotions within the human psyche. Told in the first person narrative, this is Mike’s story, and from the very beginning of the unusual and unexpected first meeting with Tree that prompted Mike to tumble into the world of insanity, readers will embrace both the complexity and simplicity that abound in this narrative. Although tragedy strikes everyone at some point in their lives, this is generally a happy tale of a simpler life, one for which we all crave despite our insidious desires to allow complications to intrude. The narrative flows smoothly with engaging dialogue between Mike and Tree, and the characters of both (if one could define Tree for his/her character) are equally well developed. Powerful, sensitive, and simple, like Rachel Joyce’s The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry, this narrative is a journey you don’t want to miss.