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Treeborne: Book Review

Treeborne: Book Review

TITLE: Treeborne

Author: Caleb Johnson

Release Date: June 5, 2018

RATING: ★★☆☆☆

2 out of 5 stars


In the tradition of Daniel Wallace’s Big Fish and Amanda Coplin’s The Orchardist comes a debut novel of an unusual family who have made their home at the margins of an unusual place.

Janie Treeborne lives on an orchard at the edge of Elberta, Alabama, and in time, she has become its keeper. A place where conquistadors once walked, and where the peaches they left behind now grow, Elberta has seen fierce battles, violent storms, and frantic change—and when the town is once again threatened from without, Janie realizes it won’t withstand much more. So she tells the story of its people: of Hugh, her granddaddy, determined to preserve Elberta’s legacy at any cost; of his wife, Maybelle, the postmaster, whose sudden death throws the town into chaos; of her lover, Lee Malone, a black orchardist harvesting from a land where he is less than welcome; of the time when Janie kidnapped her own Hollywood-obsessed aunt and tore the wrong people apart.

As the world closes in on Elberta, Caleb Johnson’s debut novel lifts the veil and offers one last glimpse. Treeborne is a celebration and a reminder: of how the past gets mixed up in thoughts of the future; of how home is a story as much as a place.


Pages: 304

Publisher: Picador

Series? No, this is a standalone.

My Review of Treeborne:

This was a book that I really struggled to read. It was written very well, but it wasn’t the kind of book that I normally enjoy reading. The details and descriptions are great, but for some reason, I just couldn’t get into the story.

The characters talk with a slang, and it was hard to get past it at certain points. This venaucular was well written and takes a lot of talent to write, but quickly made me want to stop reading. There are also several different characters and different time frames, and I was often confused in the midst of the story.

Janie is the narrarator of the story which gives it an interesting twist.

Other readers rated this book quite high, but did say that it was a challenging read. Maybe one day I will try to read it again when I have more time to focus on the story and really take my time with it, but for now it must go back on the shelf.

I gave up on this book on page 55, and couldn’t bear to spend anymore time struggling through the pages.

Thank you to the publisher, Picador, for sending me an ARC of Treeborne in exchange for an honest review. Receiving a copy of this book did not effect my opinion in any way. All opinions are my own.

Thanks so much for reading this book review.


Sarah June


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