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Official Review: The Theory of Talking to Trees

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Official Review: The Theory of Talking to Trees

Post Number:#1 by e-tasana-williams
» 09 May 2017, 20:41

[Following is an official OnlineBookClub.org review of "The Theory of Talking to Trees" by Karl Dehmelt.]

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4 out of 4 stars
Review by e-tasana-williams
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The Theory of Talking to Trees, the novel by Karl Dehmelt, is a complex story about two men struggling with mental illness. Stephen Christiansen is a successful author, and engaged to Phoebe. He proposed seven years ago, and Phoebe insists other conditions must be met prior to setting a wedding date. Isaac Sellers is a down-on-his-luck factory worker, and engaged to Olivia. A man of modest aspirations, he struggles to survive day to day. Stephen and Isaac's paths cross during a near-fatal mugging and they become fast friends, partly based on their shared pathologies. Without including spoilers, both of their relationships are changed dramatically through the course of the story.

Both Stephen and Isaac suffer from lives touched by mental illness. Isaac, from a poverty-stricken background, has little to shield him from the ravages of schizophrenia. Stephen, on his way to becoming a best-selling author, is more functional, until he's not. Mental illness or not, the characters have good advice for us all. One example is when Isaac tells Stephen, "I can only judge myself, and base my actions on being better than who I was yesterday." (P. 158)

The Theory of Talking to Trees is about mental illness, but it is also about the relationships experienced by its sufferers. Although the specific diagnoses are only named briefly, the audience gets a snapshot of the complexities and cruelties involved. The Theory of Talking to Trees also spotlights the writing process. Both Stephen and Isaac use writing as a coping mechanism. Stephen works for a publishing house and Isaac has a manuscript he would like to publish.

Readers of literature can appreciate this novel. Artistically written, it is reminiscent of a good short story. An example is the abundant use of simile and metaphor found throughout the tale. One memorable metaphor describes a family's experience after a near-fatal accident: "They scrape the morsels of optimism from a full plate of tragedy, fearing the young man might not awaken from his comatose state." (P. 7) While he writes about writing, Mr. Dehmelt uses lyrical prose to add yet another layer of complexity to the work.

The book appears to be professionally edited, with less than a handful of errors noted. This is an important point for a work about a professional editor working for a publishing company! Nice touch, Mr. Dehmelt. I rate The Theory of Talking to Trees 4 out of 4 stars. The writing is poetic, I found myself rooting for the intriguing characters and the descriptions of life with mental illness are authentic.

******
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Re: Official Review: The Theory of Talking to Trees

Post Number:#2 by Amagine
» 11 May 2017, 07:28

I love that this is book that addresses mental illness because it is something many people suffer from. I also like that it is an inspirational read with quotes that can be applied to everyday life.

Great Review! 💜
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Re: Official Review: The Theory of Talking to Trees

Post Number:#3 by godreaujea
» 11 May 2017, 07:31

Nice review! This sounds like a poetic read. :)
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Re: Official Review: The Theory of Talking to Trees

Post Number:#4 by kandscreeley
» 11 May 2017, 08:06

Sometimes its difficult to write about mental illness in an authentic way. It sounds like this author does a great job. It sounds like a book with a message for us all yet entertaining at the same time. Thanks for the review.
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Re: Official Review: The Theory of Talking to Trees

Post Number:#5 by DennisK
» 11 May 2017, 10:28

Thanks for the review, e-tasana-williams. I'm looking forward to reading it.
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Re: Official Review: The Theory of Talking to Trees

Post Number:#6 by Chrys Brobbey
» 11 May 2017, 14:04

The author seems to have cleverly used the medium of a novel to bring attention to mental illness in society - which is a good thing. The story line is interesting, and seems to be well executed. Kudos for the review.
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Re: Official Review: The Theory of Talking to Trees

Post Number:#7 by abriana favors
» 14 May 2017, 19:48

Wow it actually sends like a good book to read. It got my attention because I love to read books that are different like this one. I love how he had titled the book which makes it even more interesting to read.
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Re: Official Review: The Theory of Talking to Trees

Post Number:#8 by Jaime Lync
» 15 May 2017, 09:16

This sounds like a book you read in one sitting. Great review. I love that you mention that the writing is poetic.
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Re: Official Review: The Theory of Talking to Trees

Post Number:#9 by Ella Rose Orocio
» 17 May 2017, 09:53

hmmmm its nice
maybe,i can read the whole story
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Re: Official Review: The Theory of Talking to Trees

Post Number:#10 by Sonjastaples100
» 17 May 2017, 20:42

Great review...
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Re: Official Review: The Theory of Talking to Trees

Post Number:#11 by DennisK
» 25 May 2017, 11:58

I just finished reading The Theory of Talking to Trees. The book was well written, and its story engaging. After finishing the book, I was confronted by a stark difference between what I perceive to be two different types of what we call “mental illness”. I wouldn't consider Stephen as being mentally ill, because the cause of his depression was very real. Isaac, on the other hand, had a medical problem involving his brain. Isaac's story, for me, empathized the personal courage required of someone afflicted with this kind of disease.
But even as I write this, I find myself questioning what I consider mental illness. If we live long enough, everyone of us will experience loss. It seems to me that depression would be a natural response to that loss – such is life. What should we do in this case, take a pill? Numb our brains as though it never happened? I remember reading somewhere, a North American Indian philosophy which stated that one should acknowledge the loss – one should honor the pain. So, how does one 'honor' the pain? I think Stephen found a way through his friendship with Isaac. Finding your way out from under shadows is a very personal process. I think each path is as unique as we are individuals.

Thank you, e-tasana-williams for bringing this book to my attention
Thank you, Karl Dehmelt for writing it.
:tiphat:
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Re: Official Review: The Theory of Talking to Trees

Post Number:#12 by Dayang Siti Zuraida
» 31 May 2017, 19:41

Great review DennisK. Definitely I will read this book also. Tq.
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Re: Official Review: The Theory of Talking to Trees

Post Number:#13 by DennisK
» 31 May 2017, 21:59

Dayang Siti Zuraida wrote:Great review DennisK. Definitely I will read this book also. Tq.

Thanks, Dayang Siti Zuraida. It was, for me, a thought provoking read. I hope you profit from it, as I did.
I regret my choice of words when I compared the difference between Stephen's problems and Isaac's metal illness. Isaac's illness was very real. I didn't mean to imply that is wasn't – hope no one read it as such. :oops:
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Re: Official Review: The Theory of Talking to Trees

Post Number:#14 by Gravy
» 31 May 2017, 23:58

DennisK wrote:I just finished reading The Theory of Talking to Trees. The book was well written, and its story engaging. After finishing the book, I was confronted by a stark difference between what I perceive to be two different types of what we call “mental illness”. I wouldn't consider Stephen as being mentally ill, because the cause of his depression was very real. Isaac, on the other hand, had a medical problem involving his brain. Isaac's story, for me, empathized the personal courage required of someone afflicted with this kind of disease.
But even as I write this, I find myself questioning what I consider mental illness. If we live long enough, everyone of us will experience loss. It seems to me that depression would be a natural response to that loss – such is life.


Thank you for pointing out the difference. People so often refuse to acknowledge there is one. :tiphat:

And thank you e-tasana-williams. Your review has peaked my interest. :D
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Re: Official Review: The Theory of Talking to Trees

Post Number:#15 by centfie
» 01 Jun 2017, 05:33

Looks like a great read. The strong points that you have given about the book definitely show that you have given it the rating it deserves. If characters are writers, it should be an enjoyable book to writers. This review is well-written. Keep it up
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