Every so often you’re lucky enough to pick up a book that you know will always be among your favourite books. The ones that you will go back to and re-read again and again.
I have a few on that list already; two that I read this year and quite a few which I’m happy to say are written by Australian authors. I promise you’ll read about these in a future post on Simply Reading. But for now I’m going to tell you about the latest addition to the list: Where the Trees Were by Inga Simpson.
Where the Trees Were isn’t the first Inga Simpson book I’ve read. In 2015 I read Nest when it was long-listed for The Stella Prize, and really enjoyed the story and the lovely writing. Knowing this, Amanda kindly lent me her copy of Where the Trees Were, which her mum recently bought her. Amanda’s mum is a great supporter of our blog and an avid reader. She loves to buy books for Amanda to read and review. Thanks Jackie, we really appreciate your support! Anyway, I’m grateful Amanda lent me this book (and that Jackie bought it for her) because it’s so beautiful and memorable!
Where the Trees Were is a story of growing up and the friends you make. It also makes clear how some of the choices you make in your childhood impact your life as an adult.
Jay and her friends Ian, Josh and Kieran share a special bond growing up in a small Australian country town. When the group finds a grove of carved trees on Jay’s farm, they make a promise to each other to protect the grove and keep it a secret. This changes their lives forever.
The story is told from Jay’s perspective as she is growing up, and 17 years later when she’s trying to make up for past wrongs. I loved this about the book! Both stories were equally enjoyable. Reading about Jay’s feelings and experiences as a child then switching to her adult life helped build a complete picture and made the character more real. In fact almost a week after finishing, I can still picture the book so easily and I’m tempted to start reading it again.
There were so many aspects to this book that Inga Simpson brought to life beautifully, including Aboriginal culture and beliefs. I shared Jay’s feelings of frustration, the importance of respecting the art world and understanding how the choices governments make affect the industry. Not to mention life in a small country town and in Australia’s capital, Canberra, which I now desperately want to visit.
Where the Trees Were (all 296 pages of it) is a delight to read. It’s just such a passionate book. If you want to sit back, relax and enjoy a beautiful story about friendship, love and life, then Where the Trees Were is the perfect book! I hope you enjoy it.