I'm never sure about memoirs. If not careful they can stray more into a biography which I often find to be a bit dry. But the good memoirs (or at least the ones I like) always have a deeply emotional element to them. I realized this when I read The Watchmaker's Daughter, and found it to be even more true while reading The Butternut Tree by Maureen Ann Richards Kostalnick.
There was something very sweet, well maybe bittersweet would be a better description, about the tale. And Kostalnick painted a vivid picture with her words. It completely captured my attention. I'm thankful it was short enough to be read in an afternoon as I could not have put it down. Moreover, I don't think the child Maureen would have let me rest until I had completed her story.
The book's description on Goodreads ends with a quote from Eldon Thompson, author of The Divine Talisman. I think it sums up how I felt about The Butternut Tree well.
"By turns humorous and poignant, Maureen Kostalnick's The Butternut Tree is insightful, entertaining, and stands as a testament to the human spirit. A tragedy, but also a triumph, this nostalgic tale brims with love and seethes with vengeance, seemingly in equal measure, pulling no punches in its honest, heartbreaking exploration of the vast spectrum of human emotion."
I caught myself several times going "wow, this really happened", or similar sentiments, as I flipped the pages.
If you love memoirs or stories of human strength, then The Butternut Tree should be on your reading list. Though I don't read memoirs often, I found this one to be an especially nice treat. And in some ways it made a great summer read.
Buy The Butternut Tree at Amazon
paperback, 266 pages
Published October 2012 by Bookstand Publishing
Read: July 2014