The Waiting Tree by Lindsay Moynihan
My Rating: 1 out of 5 Stars
Age Group: Young Adult
Genre: Contemporary, Realistic, LGBTQ+
Publisher: Amazon Children’s Publishing
Release Date: May 14th 2013
Synopsis: Eighteen-year-old Simon Peters wants to stand up for the truth about who he is. His love for Stephen is unwavering, but does he have the courage to defend it when his entire church community, including his eldest brother has ostracized him? Trapped in a cashier’s job he hates, struggling to maintain peace with his brothers after their parents have died, and determined to look after his mute brother, Simon puts everyone else’s needs before his own. It takes a courageous act of self-sacrifice on Jude’s part to change both of their lives forever. Jude, who knew that when the fig tree in their yard began to bloom, it was his time to finally be heard and to set Simon free.
The Waiting Tree first caught my interest when I saw the dazzling cover that the book proudly showed off. Just look at the greens and blues and the tree mosaic! The cover is an absolute beauty. Unfortunately the contents are not nearly as good as the cover. In fact, I really wish that I just admired the cover from afar and didn’t read the book at all. This novel just made me angry.
The story isn’t centered on Simon being gay as much as it is centered on the cruelties of people and the unfairness of life. Most of the cruelties Simon has to endure is because of the gender he is attracted to, but that isn’t all the book is about. It’s about how people seem to push away and hate people who are not ‘normal.’
First and foremost, I felt that The Waiting Tree is just very extremely negative with its portrayal of things. Almost all the characters in this book, aside from Simon and his friends, are thought of as either hypocrites or people who are just cruel. The members of the church are specifically portrayed in a negative manner. This book doesn’t show the other side of the church that is accepting and caring. I know that there are people who are devoted Christians that don’t mind that you like people of the same gender as yourself. But that isn’t shown anywhere in this novel.
The characters weren’t all to great either. I can’t say that I loved them, much less liked them (except for Jude. Bless his heart). I just couldn’t feel any strong emotion for them other than rage. Not a good sign when the book’s purpose is to pull on heartstrings.
Another major flaw is the ending. Nothing is resolved by the time the ending comes. It’s vague and literally ends with a “this is just the beginning” line. If this was a series, I might forgive that, but this isn’t a series. So I basically just trudged through a ton of things that offended me greatly and sent me into rage only to feel unsatisfied. The Waiting Tree is only 218 pages. Surely the author could have added 50 or a 100 more pages to tie things up, right?
If you are looking for a book that writes the issue of being ostracized in a sensitive way I would recommend Speechless by Hannah Harrington, a book that not only has amazing characters that are rough around the edges, but also an ending that doesn’t make me want to throw my Kindle across the room.
An advanced copy was provided in exchange for a honest review via Netgalley.