The Persimmon Tree Narrative

Fiction - Humor/Comedy
356 Pages
Reviewed on 10/21/2022
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    Book Review

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.

Courtnee Turner Hoyle

The Persimmon Tree Narrative by Michael Brookshire reads like a memoir, but it is full of magical realism. As Mike sits enjoying an afternoon in the sun, a persimmon tree speaks to him. After he rationalizes the experience and eliminates the possibility of mental illness, he allows their conversation to blossom. The tree seems to know everything about him and can read his thoughts, but Tree encourages Mike to have conversations full of questions, many of which take an almost therapeutic course that ends in Mike’s ability to rationalize his own answers. Through their time together, Mike grows, and the tree seems to gain something from their interactions, too.

Even though The Persimmon Tree Narrative seems to chronicle his own experience, the author notes that the book is fiction. The idea of a living tree speaking to a human is fantastical, but the language used to describe the interaction is engaging and entertaining. Michael Brookshire’s ability to paint a vivid picture is astounding and the imagery is superb! The conversations between Mike and Tree cover many subjects, from football, grief, and dimensions to humor, aging, and anger-related issues as the tree reveals everything and nothing, Mike explores his own feelings about what he knows or thought he knew more deeply. A writer who can rationalize the viewpoints of the tree and a character, even one fashioned after himself, with the clarity reflected in the narrative has both a strong analytical and creative mind. I recommend the book to readers who like amusing fiction with a healthy dose of thought-provoking content.

Bernadette Longu

In The Persimmon Tree Narrative by Michael Brookshire, the author has written a book that will have the reader reading and then walking away to digest what they have read, and then promptly returning to read some more. Brookshire’s narrative is wickedly truthful and with underlying hints of humor and life’s death blows, and is narrated with a very dry sense of humor. The book starts in 2000 and ends in 2021. The main character is Michael, better known as Mike, his wife Lynn, and his granddaughter Chloe. Mike takes a walk through life and thinks and ponders on what has happened to him, those he loves, and the world in general.

Michael Brookshire uses a tree to explain Mike and this wonderful story weaves through his life, explaining not only what is happening in his life but in the rest of the world and how we all have to control not only our lives but the lives of those around us, and if we could the whole universe. It shows how man is resistant to change and new innovations or inventions, some good and some bad. The book has sad moments, happy moments, and disconcerting moments, but slowly they seem to come to a head toward the end.

The author made me realize that many times when I have been traveling between jobs, I have similar conversations with myself in the car! The Persimmon Tree Narrative is full of humor as well as being very true to life if you have the courage to examine your life objectively and not color it with what you would like it to be. Thank you to Michael Brookshire for allowing me the faint hope that I am not going insane. It is a lovely read. This is definitely a book that is worth being read more than once.