Tuesday, November 4, 2014

The Lion Trees Part Two by Owen Thomas

By Shawn

The Johns family is unraveling.  Hollis, a retired Ohio banker, isolates himself in esoteric hobbies and a dangerous flirtation with a colleague's daughter.  Susan, his wife of forty years, risks everything for a second chance at who she might have become. David, their eldest, thrashes to stay afloat as his teaching career capsizes in a storm of accusations involving a missing student and the legacy of Christopher Columbus.  And young Tilly, the black sheep, having traded literary promise for an improbable career as a Hollywood starlet, struggles to define herself amidst salacious scandal, the demands of a powerful director, and the judgments of an uncompromising writer. (taken from the back of the book)

If you read my review of The Lion Trees Part One, then you already know how profoundly I've been struck by this book series.  Sporting over 1600 pages, I didn't even bat an eyelash as I picked this one up.  It took  me fewer than six hours to devour the entire thing.  After reading the first one, I was incredibly anxious to pick up where the Johns family left off, as well as continue my own journey into self-knowledge and I definitely was not let down.

As we continue on, we find that though everyone's lives have taken dramatic turns, that they're on the verge of self-discovery.  Each one struggles with their surrounding situations and begins to look internally for answers.  It isn't easy for any of them, but it's never easy for any of us.  The premise is that each of us has been scratched and scarred in some way and that has led us to define who we are.  It leads us to make choices that will force us to continue to play the roles we've had thrust upon us that we feel we must continue, for whatever reason.  It's a lot more complicated than that, much more in depth, but that's the general feel of what each person is going through.  As they begin to look inward, they begin to finally take responsibility for their own actions and grow as an individual.

Once again, this was an astounding read for me.  Not only was the story telling mesmerizing, but Owen's writing style is inspiring.  His use of the English language transcends most of the barriers I've seen most writers of our time face.  Instead of searching for the right words to convey his meaning and to get you to dig deep into your own psyche, he naturally voices to you instructions for how to do so, without even letting you know that he's doing it.  His writing is seemless and flawless and makes me yearn for more.

Though I continued my own journey while reading, the second book served to prove to me that I have a long way to go.  Since I first picked it up I've been searching for my own initial scratch and insight on what to do with it once I find it.  Owen Thomas has led me on an enlightenment journey that I'm sad to see at an end.  Though the story left me feeling satisfied, it served to remind me that there really is no end to any of our stories.  You won't find the ending of this saga wrapped in pretty little pink bows all neatly tied up.   You'll find one person's version of the end of the Johns' family story, but that is all.  The rest you have to figure out on your own.  You also have to figure out how it pertains to you and your life and exactly what you plan to do about it.

After reading both of these books, I've nominated the for Book of the Year Awards,  I truly believe this is the best story that I've read this year, actually in a long time.  This is what fiction and novels were initially created to be.  It's not only beautifully crafted, but it becomes a part of you.

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