THE BLACKBERRY BUSH
By David Housholder
Published by B & H
Two babies, —Kati and Josh, —are born on opposite sides of
the world at the very moment the Berlin Wall falls. You’d think such a potent freedom metaphor would become the soundtrack for their lives, but nothing could be further from the truth.
Despite his flawless image, Josh, an artistic and gifted California skateboarder, struggles to find his true role in the world, and his growing aggression eventually breaks him. Kati, a German with a penchant for classic Swiss watches and attic treasure-hunting, is crushed with disappointment for never being “enough” for anyone--—most especially her mother.
Craving liberation, Kati and Josh seem destined to claim their birthright of freedom together. After all, don’t the “chance” encounters transform your life--…or are they really chance?
I was intrigued by the book's cover. When I received my review copy I liked the feel of the book and loved the tattered pages. I highly recommend reading the author interview in the back of the book first. This helps set up the story and allows the reader to understand how this book was put together. In the interview the author reveals his heart and the meaning of the Blackberry Bush. This story was gripping and heart wrenching at times and is not one you want to rush through.
I personally found it hard to read this book in the beginning because It was hard to follow as the author switches from character to character and from present to the future. Then there was an angelic being explaining things in-between! Once I got into the rhythm and felt for these characters it got easier!
This is the story of a twisted family history filled with horrific events and trumpets with a few angelic interventions I was thankful for. This fictional story was written in first person so it seemed to touch the depths of your soul and feel very intimate at times. Almost as if you were overhearing a very private conversation you weren’t meant to hear and it touches your heart, affects your breathing and deeply affects the way you think.
I was thankful for Angelo the narrator of the story and how he explained a few things the reader really needed to know. Everyone has a back-story and comes to a crossroads in their lives that will affect the person making the decision and the generations that will follow in the family line. The aspect of this was huge, something I hadn’t considered before. I liked the discussion questions in the back of the book; it brought out so much of the book I hadn’t thought of before. I see how this would work well for a book club discussion.
Reviewed by: Nora St.Laurent
The Book Club Network
Finding hope Through Fiction
David Housholder's debut novel is one of thought-provoking depth and wonder as the pages slowly peel back the layers of Josh and Katie's lives as they run parallel to each other yet continents apart. The Blackberry Bush is one of those stories that settles slowly in your mind and leaves you with plenty to contemplate, not only as you read it, but for some time after the last page is turned. With an angelic narrator, multiple points of view and a literary bent, it may take some adjustment for readers used to more traditional tales. That said, the challenges are easily overcome as the strong storytelling captivates and intrigues from beginning to end. As the author takes the reader back in time to the choices of generations past and reveals the impact of those choices on Katie and Josh, a unique coming of age story is exposed, physically, emotionally and spiritually. With two levels of discussion questions at the end, this book is especially suited to book clubs and study groups, with plenty of layers to examine and contemplate.
Reviewed by: Rel Mollet