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Far from the Tree: 09/18/06
A common theme in the "women's fiction" genre is the multi-generational story, usually focused on the women of those generations. Far from the Tree is no exception to this rule and the men in the book have maybe five percent of dialogue (if that). The bulk of the story is centered around Della, her daughters Celeste and Ronnie, and her grand-daughter Nikki.
The authors set out at first to show how vastly different each woman is and how they all crave independence from the family. Over the course of the book, of course, the women come to realize that they aren't so different after all. That's one main flaw with the book; the characters are more interesting when they are striving to be individuals. When they start to finally communicate and realize that they're all like Della or had experiences (good and bad) nearly identical to Della's, they become less believable as cookie-cutter clones of each other. Why does this genre seem to dictate that all daughters are like their mothers and all sisters are ultimately seeking the same sort of life? It would be far more interesting and rewarding to read a story where the women were actually different even if they did share the same family.
Here's my BookCrossing Review: