The Lion Trees: Part 1: Unraveling

Owen Thomas
OTF Literary (2014)
ISBN 9780692235904
Reviewed by Paige Lovitt for Reader Views (03/15)

“The Lion Trees: Part I: Unraveling” by Owen Thomas takes us inside the lives of the Johns’ family. Hollis is the patriarch of the family. Having retired from a successful career, he is taking time to explore creative outlets that he did not have time to do during his career as a banking executive. He displays a lot of narcissistic tendencies and this is painful for his wife and his children. He treats Susan, his wife of forty years, like she is incapable of understanding his intellectual pursuits and they have become disconnected as a couple. He is uncomfortable when she begins to step outside of her role as the perfect housewife and the mother of his disabled son. Susan has realized that she needs retrieve the identity that she gave up.

Hollis has driven his actress daughter Tilly away, and his son David feels uncomfortable going to him for help when he needs him the most. The youngest child Ben has Down syndrome and it seems like Hollis, Susan and David find comfort in the fact that their circumstances haven’t changed him. His world remains the same, while the rest of them have become secretive, divided and feel unable to repair their relationships with each other.

Each chapter is told from the point of view of a family member. This makes it especially interesting when the scenes overlap and a shared event appears to be completely different based upon the perspective of the individual. I found this writing technique to be fascinating and creative. The author also uses some of the chapters to take us back into the past so we gain an understanding of how each of the protagonists evolved to become the person that he or she is today. This is not always positive for the individual because they allowed a particular event to change their individuality, which resulted in them having more negative experiences in the present.

The Lion Trees: Part 1: Unraveling” by Owen Thomas is intimidating in the fact that this book is 811 pages, and it immediately segues into the second book in the series. After I began reading it, the only problem that I had with the size of the book was the physical weight! Each chapter is valuable to the story and I totally enjoyed being able to immerse myself in this drama. However, a traveler might prefer the Kindle edition so that they don’t have to take up much space in their luggage! I highly recommend reading “The Lion Trees” and I look forward to finding out what happens in part 2.

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