Fall Far from the Tree by Amy McNulty
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Don’t go crying to your mama, ’cause you’re on your own in the real world. —Paramore
If you’re fond of teen angst and political intrigue, then you should definitely pick up this novel. I wonder if I’ll ever be able to get over that blasted ending. I humbly demand a sequel!
Fall Far from the Tree is a very unique exploration of the parent-child relationship. In fact, its title alone may be interpreted as a command to children to be different from their parents. Pursuing that line of thinking, this book illustrates how we should be critical enough to identify and learn from the mistakes of our forebears.
Parents, given their abundance of experience, are universally given the right to rule over their children, who are often deemed as too naive to make their own choices in life. I do not intend to sound like an advocate of disobedience or rebellion, but I liked this book because it challenged the latter ideology. However, let me qualify my statement by saying that the parents in this book did not deserve their title. This might take you by surprise, but they were basically the antagonists of the story, the powerful obstructions to attaining their childrens’ respective happy endings.
Rohesia, Fastello, Cateline and Kojiro did hold their parents in high esteem and affection. However, when they began to see that the corruption and destitution in their world was happening all because of their parents’ insatiable hunger for power, these empowered teenagers did all they could do to make a difference and set things right. They knew that their disobedience would further cleave them from their parents’ “love” and “protection.” Nevertheless, they persevered and eventually found true love and companionship in one another. It was admirable that they did not let fear break their resolve to fall far from the tree.
What I liked best about this book was its character-driven plot. I was initially quite confused by the four alternating perspectives, but I soon began to appreciate the characters’ diversity and development. Rohesia, Fastello, Cataline, and Kojiro were unified in that all of them had influential yet despicable parents. However, each of them faced their own struggles, which were realistic, relatable and heartwarming. Although I was not able to fully sympathize with their plight because my own parents are anything but cruel, I was still moved and inspired by their journey to maturity and independence.
Overall, I can say that Fall Far From the Tree is one of the most unique and refreshing books I have read this year. It’s possible that my library simply needs more variety, but it was my first time to encounter a story that featured children justifiably rebelling against their parents. I ardently hope that the author will bless us with a sequel because I desperately need to attain a sense of closure.
P.S. Thank you Patchwork Press for sending me an ARC of this book (via Netgalley) in exchange for an honest review. 🙂
*The featured image was contributed by Dessa Mae Jacobe (@dessatopia)