Far From the Tree: Spoiler Free Review

“I finally learned how to ride a bike. But I still didn’t want the training wheels off because I liked the feeling, you know? They caught me every time. That’s what it felt like with Grace and Maya. Like I was falling, but then I didn’t. They were there.” Joaquin

A New York’s bestselling novel hits the reviews again with great and aspiring strength from its beautiful narration to its heartwarming story. The novel follows three characters: Grace, a lonely child adopted at birth happening to be a Junior in high school who just gave her baby up for adoption; Maya, a snarky bright fifteen-year-old kid whose head over heels for her girlfriend; and Joaquin, a stoic seventeen-year-old that has been thrown around the foster care system since he was a year old. These three youngsters are all tied together by one fateful string, their blood connection to their biological mother who gave each one of them up. This third-person narrative novel discusses generally stereotyped incidents that happen with numerous people in the world – adoption and foster care.

One very important piece of the story is how, while many things that happened may be called tragedies, adoption was never one of them. Family is a very difficult word to define. It’s bright and loving yet so complicated to even begin to explain. Family is partly a bond and partly a choice. Two strings that end up being sewn together by life and love. The story is a combination of perspectives of three siblings as they are brought together by life, and learn how to love each other.

The story follows all three siblings as they first reunited with each other, and what happens once they meet. In the beginning of the story, we are introduced to these three different siblings that are all obsessed with mayonnaise on their fries. Starting with Maya, she is the youngest out of the three biological kids and has a younger sister in her adopted family whose name is Lauren. She finds it specifically distinctive that she doesn’t look like the rest of her family, whose bitterness ends up bringing up doubts shown when analyzing social execution and alert behavior. Her mother is an alcoholic and is getting a divorce from her dad. She finds her main comfort in her girlfriend, Claire, a balanced and relaxed girl who tames the fiery beast Maya tends to be.

The middle sibling of the trio is Grace, who has just given up for adoption her baby, Peach, a colorful and affectionate nickname Grace bestowed upon the baby while it was in her belly. Grace, the middle sibling, feels haunted after putting her baby up for adoption and she wishes to reunite with her own biological mother to fill her dark pieces with her newfound siblings. In the midst of chaos, finally ends up finding a friend. The oldest sibling and brother is Joaquin, a seventeen-year-old boy staying with his foster parents, Mark and Linda who have just asked him to officially join the family and finally be adopted. After breaking up with his girlfriend, he finds himself on his laptop, reading an email from his two long lost sisters. The next Sunday that passes by, they all go ahead and meet.

Robin Benway’s novel deals with adoption and foster care in a very mature and realistic manner. While I cannot speak for the foster care section, due to my limited experience by simple research, I can concur with this one fact: The discussion of adoption from the perspective of the adopted child is irrevocably raw and real. Opening up a personal door from the author of this review, I am an adopted Colombian girl since I was three months old. Life is much simpler than one can think being an adopted kid. Sure, when someone asks about the hospital or town I was born in, it took me a few years to find out through looking through old attorney documents that I was born at home. When doctors asked if my biological parents had any allergies or radical illnesses, my family and I usually stand there looking at them with slightly tired eyes as we explain there is no way to know because of it being a closed adoption. The small contrast in perspectives, while not exact copies from the novel, are well placed in the story. The emotion that blooms and grows throughout the story is realistic. I had never cried so much for a book like this one.

The themes in this story are straightforward but other than simply adoption and foster care, the most special one is the types of families that exist. Some families are simply friends, others are by blood, others by law. Some families don’t have to be bonded by marriage, and all families have their flaws. Life is such a complex narration of how people can think and be, that the truth about flaws and information shown throughout these characters’ lives rounds them into a thoroughly written format that makes this great story great. This book should absolutely be placed on your booklist. Please come in and share your thoughts, and feedback is always welcome. Enjoy~