The Lion Trees: Part 2: Awakening
OTF Literary (2014)
Reviewed by Paige Lovitt for Reader Views (03/15)
“The Lion Trees: Part 2: Awakening” by Owen Thomas is the second part of a fantastic novel. Beginning on page 817, the story continues from “The Lion Trees: Part 1: Unraveling.” In order to follow the storyline, these books must be read in order. While 1612 pages must seem overwhelming, I totally found myself caught up in this drama. The only thing that made the size of the book stand out was the weight of the book! As in part 1, the author dedicates each chapter to a particular family member, so that it is told from their perspective. While I enjoyed the first novel, the second one really takes off and has a lot of turbulence among the protagonists and the people in their lives. My initial impression was that the second part should have been titled “Eruption,” instead of “Awakening.” As the story line progresses, the characters definitely have awakenings.
Hollis, the patriarch of the Johns’ family, undergoes experiences that help him wake up and realize the role that he has played in damaging the relationships that he has with his wife and children. Susan his wife, continues to grow as an individual and she retrieves the parts of herself that she had separated from to keep Hollis happy. She finally realizes that she did herself a disservice by sacrificing her individuality by dedicating her life to a cold, distant man. Her awakening is pretty entertaining. The oldest son David still has to dig himself out of the hole in which he found himself trapped. His career, personal relationships and his identity have all been compromised. He is fortunate to have an eccentric character come into his life who seems to know how to help him. His sister Tilly continues to have to deal with the poor relationship choices that she has made and the drama of being famous. Having to have every aspect of her life divulged to the public is painful. Tilly has to come to terms with taking responsibility for the decisions that she has made. She also remembers painful childhood events and sees the correlation to how they have affected her present. Ben, the youngest, who has developmental delays from Down syndrome, continues to remain the same. In his innocence and simplistic life, he does not need to evolve and overcome issues as the others have. Ben is happy and loved.
Once again, I really enjoyed stepping into the world of the Johns’ family in “The Lion Trees: Part 2: Awakening” by Owen Thomas. Their complex dramas are usually very painful, yet highly entertaining. This novel really helped me to appreciate my life. When some of the chapters went back in time to relay an event, they helped me to see how easy it is to fall off track and lose one’s true identity. I believe that these events will cause a lot of readers to stop and look at their own lives, and perhaps make changes so that they don’t end up giving up their identities and individualities. Even though this is a fictional novel, there is a lot that can be learned from it. I highly recommend reading both parts of “The Lion Trees.”