A Captivating Read – The Eagle Tree by Ned Hayes
It is usually the lofty aspiration of a writer to involve and absorb the reader with a character, and if it is a character with strong goals and conflicts, to emotionally connect and to illuminate the heart and mind of that character to the reader. Ned Hayes has accomplished that with this novel. The autistic teenager, March Wong, is a lovable and believable character, as he narrates his passion and unique point of view of the world around him.
Before this book, I knew little about autism. With the Eagle Tree, the writer brought me into the head of March Wong, and I almost “became” this little autistic boy as he struggled to overcome his mental and emotional obstacles to save the tree he saw as a symbol of not only the Northwest, but also trees across the America.
The themes of ecology and humanity hit me hard, and I have to applaud this book for its skill to bring home this little boy’s passion and intimate involvement with this beloved trees.
Fourteen-year-old March Wong knows everything there is to know about trees. They are his passion and his obsession, even after his recent falls—and despite the state’s threat to take him away from his mother if she can’t keep him from getting hurt. But the young autistic boy cannot resist the captivating pull of the Pacific Northwest’s lush forests just outside his back door.
One day, March is devastated to learn that the Eagle Tree—a monolithic Ponderosa Pine near his home in Olympia—is slated to be cut down by developers. Now, he will do anything in his power to save this beloved tree, including enlisting unlikely support from relatives, classmates, and even his bitter neighbor. In taking a stand, March will come face-to-face with some frightening possibilities: Even if he manages to save the Eagle Tree, is he risking himself and his mother to do it?
Intertwining themes of humanity and ecology, The Eagle Tree eloquently explores what it means to be part of a family, a society, and the natural world that surrounds and connects us
“A master storyteller.” — New York Times bestseller Brenda Vantrease
“Credible, authentic, powerful. A must-read.” — New York Times bestseller Steve Silberman
“Brilliantly conceived and beautifully executed. A joy to read.” — Booklist (Starred Review)
Ned Hayes is the author of the novels THE EAGLE TREE, SINFUL FOLK and COEUR D’ALENE WATERS. The historical novel SINFUL FOLK was nominated for the “Pacific Northwest Booksellers Award.”
Ned Hayes studied Chaucer and medieval literature in graduate school. His work has appeared in national magazines, literary journals, and anthologies. He holds an MA in literature and an MFA in writing from the Rainier Writing Workshop (PLU). He lives with his family near Seattle, Washington.