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The Eagle Tree Paperback – July 5, 2016
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“Every human experience is unique, but The Eagle Tree provides insight into one distinctive and uniquely important perspective. The descriptions in climbing the Eagle Tree gets deep into the mathematical pattern–based sensory world of a person with autism. The experience of navigating a tree climb is described in detail with mathematical and sensory detail that seems very authentic to me.” —Temple Grandin, Ph.D., author of Thinking in Pictures and Emergence: Labeled Autistic
“The Eagle Tree is a gorgeously written novel that features one of the most accurate, finely drawn, and memorable autistic protagonists in literature. The hero of the book is like a fourteen-year-old Walt Whitman with autism, seeking communion with the ancient magnificent beings that tower over the landscape around Olympia, Washington. Ned Hayes plays with the conventions of the unreliable narrator so that you end up feeling like March is a very reliable narrator of glorious and terrifying aspects of the world that neurotypicals can’t see. Credible, authentic, powerful. A must-read.” —Steve Silberman, author of NeuroTribes: The Legacy of Autism and the Future of Neurodiversity and winner of the Samuel Johnson Prize for non-fiction.
“A wonderful read! To say that the narrator’s mind is unusual would not be correct. His mind is simply and marvelously unique like yours and mine. Or rather, like yours and mine could be if we lifted the eyes of our hope to the crowns of trees and listened to the voice of our neglected spirit. The Eagle Tree will remind of the beauty and truth you may have forgotten.” —Francisco X. Stork, award-winning author of Marcelo in the Real World
“The Eagle Tree portrays a teenager that is believable and lovable. March, the main character, is a living, breathing person with significant challenges who is so realistic I feel I know him. I have not enjoyed an autistic novel as much since The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time. The Eagle Tree’s beautifully written narrator is a real joy—March Wong is an unexpected leader, who remains true to himself and prevails. The Eagle Tree will leave an indelible mark on your heart.” —Susan Senator, New York Times featured author of Making Peace with Autism and Autism Adulthood
From the Back Cover
Intertwining themes of humanity and ecology, The Eagle Tree eloquently explores what it means to be a part of a family, a society, and the natural world that surrounds and connects us.
The Eagle Tree will appeal to readers who enjoyed Mark Haddon's award-winning Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time or Jim Lynch's The Highest Tide, which is also set in March's--and the author's--hometown of Olympia, Washington.
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I felt myself resonating with this 14-year-old boy named “March.”. He seeks meaning and normalcy in what to him is an estranged world. As the book’s narrator, March knows trees intimately and shares inner feelings and straight facts with the reader – a gripping mixture! I grew to love March and rejoiced with his victories! There are several main layers to this book.
1. The story of a boy in conflict with himself, family, desires, time. On this level it’s about a boy obsessed to climb at least 3 TREES A DAY! He is also a tree-and -nature savant. Just on this level the author captures the mind and language of an autistic child.
2. The “woodsy” metaphors make me think deeply about nature and eternity. I paused many times to savor these insights from such a focused mind as March’s. And overall, the haunting allegory—the deeper story, the YOU that you bring to this book. This is the boy’s focus, struggles and obsession to save the old-growth forest and climb its Eagle Tree. It made me ask myself, “What’s MY higher purpose in life?" March deeply inspired me as he finds the courage for his highest calling—saving the Eagle Tree from developers!
The author has an in-depth knowledge of the "autistic spectrum," having worked with many children in that condition. He also lives in the story’s locale and loves the forests around him. A perfect background to write such a book. This is my Kindle First choice for April.
I loved that the author didn't punt and add a second narrator (which would have been an easy way out), but managed to get secondary characters' perceptions in through dialogue. I loved the information about the trees (Olympia is not so far from Portland). I loved, too, the way the narrator, March, grew throughout the novel.
It's not perfect--there were a few too many serendipitous moments, and it wraps up all too neatly. I'm sure there are going to be inevitable comparisons to The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-TIme, but this is a very different story. This is, I think, the best Amazon First book I've seen to date.