Tuesday, September 27, 2011
7:40 PM | Posted by Amanda Wesley
- Paperback: 208 pages
- Publisher: Summerside Press (June 1, 2011)
- Language: English
- ISBN-13: 978-1609361167
Reviewed by Amanda Wesley for Reader Views
Angelo, whom we are led to believe is an angel, is introduced and we are told the events of November 9, 1989 through his eyes. As the Berlin Wall is being torn down, uniting West and East Germany once again, two women give birth on each side of the planet. Katarina (Kati) and Joshua (Josh) are both welcomed into life during a time of celebration and of great historical importance. This is their parallel story of life, acceptance and personal freedom.
Kati, at the age of nine, has a very close relationship with her Opa (grandfather) in a life where she feels like she is not enough for anyone to be happy with her. She is constantly being told that she’s not pretty enough, not smart enough, not enough. Without any friends, she finds comfort and love with Harald, her Opa, who believes that there isn’t anyone better than the other and love is equal.
On the other side of the globe, in California, a young Josh tries to break away from what his parents expect him to do and enjoy the things he loves; board sports and art. While his father is living a dream through his son, Josh escapes his reality with a couple of dream-like versions that weave in and out of his mind. One of those dreams is of a girl he keeps passing and a vivid image of a heart enclosed in a thorny vine.
On September 11, 2001 more events take place that will forever change the future. The Trade Center falls in New York while Kati and her Opa learn of a past life through letters left behind from a generation ago. Letters that will intertwine and bind Kati and Josh in ways they don’t even know of yet. One fateful day Kati comes crashing into Josh’s life in a way that neither one of them ever expected. What could have been a tragic ending was really a renewal for both of them. It is then that Josh realized that this odd girl that he saved was really the girl he has been dreaming about for years now. As time passes both Kati and Josh learn to accept not only what they cannot change, but themselves as well. Kati has learned to love her self, flaws and all, to become a woman who established lasting relationships. Josh stepped out of his father’s shadow and had some forgiving to do as he became a man he could be proud of.
Angelo keeps appearing to fill in the gaps of time before the birth of Kati and Josh. We learn through him of a betrayal and a love that connects everyone in this story. We also see a time where life was not easy and Angelo had to step in and save a life that would, in the future, become one of Josh’s closest relationships. By the end of the story, Angelo has wrapped everything up in a nice little package with enough loose ends to hope that there are more stories in the near future. He also explained, to my great pleasure, why some of our stuff ends up missing to just turn up elsewhere.
As a reader, we are sent through time and across oceans to learn of a family that has made mistakes, loved, hated, fought in wars and battled personal demons. Devastating at times and uplifting in others, “The Blackberry Bush” wraps around and grips you. This story has a healthy dose of religious related references, but isn’t too focused that it becomes a challenge to read. The plot is strong with an innocent quality. David Housholder has not only written an exquisite coming-of-age story, but has also delivered it in such a profound way.
“The Blackberry Bush” would be perfect for book clubs and religious groups with its excellent material to start hours of conversation and debate. This novel had so much symbolism laced between the pages that made it truly enjoyable to keep reading.
Publication was received free of charge.
- Amanda Wesley
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