Summary and book reviews of Harry's Trees by Jon Cohen

Harry's Trees

by Jon Cohen

Harry's Trees by Jon Cohen X
Harry's Trees by Jon Cohen
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  • First Published:
    Jun 2018, 432 pages
    Paperback:
    Jun 2019, 432 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Norah Piehl
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About this Book

Book Summary

When you climb a tree, the first thing you do is to hold on tight.

Thirty-four-year-old Harry Crane works as an analyst for the US Forest Service. When his wife dies suddenly, he is unable to cope. Leaving his job and his old life behind, Harry makes his way to the remote woods of northeastern Pennsylvania's Endless Mountains, determined to lose himself. But fate intervenes in the form of a fiercely determined young girl named Oriana. She and her mother, Amanda, are struggling to pick up the pieces from their own tragedy - Amanda stoically holding it together while Oriana roams the forest searching for answers. And in Oriana's magical, willful mind, she believes that Harry is the key to righting her world.

Now it's time for Harry to let go…

After taking up residence in the woods behind Amanda's house, Harry reluctantly agrees to help Oriana in a ludicrous scheme to escape his tragic past. In so doing, the unlikeliest of elements - a wolf, a stash of gold coins, a fairy tale called The Grum's Ledger and a wise old librarian named Olive - come together to create a golden adventure that will fulfill Oriana's wildest dreams and open Harry's heart to a whole new life.

Harry's Trees is an uplifting story about the redeeming power of friendship and love and the magic to be found in life's most surprising adventures.

5

One year after Beth died, Harry received a phone call from God.

One year had passed, four gray, indistinguishable seasons, and Harry had missed not a single day of work, because what was he going to do at home? Home: the place where he ate peanut butter on stale crackers and fell asleep in the wingback chair beside the fireplace that still contained the half-charred log that Beth had tossed onto the grate the night before she was killed. Harry would lurch awake, rise stiffly, shower or not shower and drive to work before dawn.

Really, was there a better way to punish himself? He would work for the Forest Service until he was sixty-five. No, the way the world was going they'd keep raising the age of retirement—he'd work until he was seventy, eighty, ninety. Perfect. Decade upon decade, clacking away on his keyboard until his heart sputtered out, his corpse sitting there for years, no one noticing the gnarled finger frozen above the delete key.

Sometimes he'd ...

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Reviews

BookBrowse Review

BookBrowse

Harry's Trees is the best kind of feel-good novel - one that gives readers glimpses into magic and hope and happy endings but doesn't lose sight of the fact that its characters should feel like real people leading real lives colored by loss and confusion and mortgage payments. Cohen's novel is in many ways about generosity, but it's also generous in its telling, as it allows each character's story to take root and spring to life, building a narrative as rich and interwoven as the forests Harry loves...continued

Full Review (622 words).

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(Reviewed by Norah Piehl).

Media Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Appalachian decline, the role of books in society, health care dysfunction, and dendrology are all packed into the novel, but only add clutter to the central narrative. The result is a story that never truly gets beneath the surface

Kirkus Reviews
Don't let the term fairy tale scare you away, for, as Cohen says, 'Enchantment is a part of everyday existence.' Oh, and it's also a chuckleworthy story.

Booklist
Starred Review. When a young girl asks you to believe in fairy tales, sometimes you just have to obey. In Cohen's capable hands, the unlikely teamwork between an optimistic child and a wary adult makes for a tender tale of first loves and second chances.

Library Journal
Starred Review. Part fairy tale and, at the same time, heartbreakingly realistic, Cohen's third novel...will entrance readers from page one, and by the end, even skeptics will agree that magic can still be found in the most unlikely places and in the most surprising people if only we're willing to look.

Reader Reviews

Linda Hutchinson

A Magical Tale
What a dazzlingly yet wonderful cast of characters we meet in Harry’s Trees by Jon Cohen. The one thing united them is grief and loss. A widow loses her husband to a sudden brain aneurysm, a husband loses his wife in a freak accident, and people all ...   Read More

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Beyond the Book

Real Life Tree Houses

Unlike Harry in Jon Cohen's Harry's Trees, readers can't stay in the fictional tree house built by Amanda Jeffers's late husband, but there are plenty of other wildly inventive and beautiful tree houses around the world that people can visit, explore - and even sleep in! Here are just a few:

Treehouse PointJust 20 miles outside Seattle, in Fall City, Washington, is Treehouse Point, an eco-resort with a mini-village of six unique tree houses deep in the forests of the Pacific Northwest. The resort's owner is a tree house consultant who also teaches courses on how to build them.

The TreehotelThe TreeHotel in Sweden takes a modern approach to tree house construction, with tree houses that resemble a mirrored cube, a floating box, a bird'...

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