Book Review: Watching The Tree Limbs

31 Mar

839265_w185Watching the tree limbs keeps resilient nine-year-old Mara Weatherall from the pain of General’s daily attacks–attacks he warns her to keep secret, or else. In the small world of 1979 Burl, Texas, all Mara really has are the tree limbs, a lumbering Aunt Elma, her boyfriend Officer Gus, the bully General, and her new best friend Camilla who rhymes maddening snatches of truth. Mara needs to escape General’s advances and find out who her real parents are before those who would want to destroy her succeed. Will she recognize redemption through Zady the Jesus-loving housekeeper, Denim the clandestine town prophet, or Mr. Winningham her new guardian whose quiet rage masks even deeper secrets?


Mary Demuth 6-IIcroppedMary E. DeMuth loves to write and speak about the redemptive hand of God in impossible situations. Her books include Ordinary Mom, Extraordinary God (Harvest House, 2005), Building the Christian Family You Never Had (WaterBrook, 2006), Watching the Tree Limbs, and Wishing on Dandelions (NavPress, 2006). Wife to Patrick and mother of three, Mary makes her home in Texas.

Mary’s Testimony


My Impressions:

Watching The Tree Limbs by Mary De Muth is an excellent book. It is filled with powerful emotions, well-developed and relatable characters, real and troubling scenes of violence and abuse and real and hope-inspiring scenes of God’s love and truth. My church book club read this for our March selection and it received unanimous thumbs-up. I think we had the best discussion ever — everyone had strong feelings about the characters, the plot and the intense themes.

Mara Weatherall is a young girl who is given second-hand attention in addition to second-hand toys and clothes. In her ninth year, sexual abuse by a neighborhood boy is added to the neglect by her adult caretaker. Broken, confused and adrift, Mara holds on as best she can with the advice of her friend to watch the tree limbs. The defenseless child may be forgotten and abandoned by most of the adults in her life, but God never leaves her.

I wanted to slap someone while reading Watching The Tree Limbs. I wanted to slap the neglectful and indifferent adults in Mara’s life. I wanted to slap the teenage boy who steals her innocence and her sense of self. I even wanted to slap the loving housekeeper, Zady, who comes to offer a bit of comfort and protection, but is bound by secrets. This book caused me to enter into Mara’s fear, hurt and anger. With autobiographical touches, Mary De Muth has created a challenging and moving novel that will stay with me for a long time. Child sexual abuse is never an easy topic to read about, but I feel this novel is a must-read. Mara’s spiritual journey is one of discovery of a good and loving God who is present even in the midst of darkness, despair, and fear.

Watching The Tree Limbs is the first book in a 2-part series. I am anticipating another excellent read in Wishing on Dandelions.

Highly Recommended.

(I purchased this book for my Kindle. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)

To purchase this book, click HERE. It is currently FREE for Kindle!

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