The Sweet Gum Tree
Author: Katherine Allred
Publisher: Cerridwen Press
Date published: December 1st 2005
Sweet, tea corn bread, and soup beans-everyday fare for eight year old Alix French, the precocious darling of a respected southern family. But nothing was ordinary about t he day she met ten year old Nick Anderson, a boy from the wrong side of town. Armed with only a tin of bee balm and steely determination, Alix treats the raw evidence of a recent beating that mars his back, an act that changes both of their lives forever.
Through childhood disasters and teenage woes they cling together as friendship turns to love. The future looks rosy until the fateful night Frank Anderson, Nick's abusive father, is shot to death in his filty trailer.
Suddenly, Nick is gone leaving Alix alone, confused and pregnant. For the next fifteen years she wrestles wit the pain of Nick's Abandonment, a bad marriage, her family and friends. But finally, she;s starting to get her life back together. Her divorce is almost final, her business is booming, and she's content if not happy- until the day she looks up sees Nick standing across the counter, He's back...and he's not alone.
Once again Alix is plunged into turmoil and pain as Nick tries to win her love, something she resists with all her strength. Only one thing might break the protective wall she's built around her emotions- the truth about Frank Anderson's death. But when the truth comes out and those walls crumble, neither Alix nor Nick is prepared for the emotional explosion that could destroy as well as heal.
I'm not going to do a quick synopsis because there is a awesome one above. Going to go straight the business of The Sweet Gum Tree. I first heard about this book through PBS. A member was raving about how awesome it was, so I made a quick note of the title, and later looked up the title on Goodreads. There was more raving on Goodreads with a 4 point something rating. I then put it on my Wl and forgot all about until it came in the mail. The cover leaves a lot to be desired, and I was sure that I was sent this by mistake. Yeah, I had completely forgot about this book and that I had put it on my WL. Disturbed by the cover I decided I would put my trepidation aside and immediately start it. Now I am not completely in love with this novel like some people, but I sure do have a crush on it. Is it full of melodrama?...um yeah. Is it full of sappy southerness(that isn't a word, is it)?...um yeah? But is it awesome nerdy great?...um HELL YEAH!
I loved the characters in The Sweet Gum Tree. Alix and Nick are perfect together. They are opposites. He's from the wrong side of the tracks, and she's apple pie. Technically they shouldn't work, but the fact that they do is what makes them so appealing. I was crushing on Nick. He was all hard, and tough yet vulnerable and a book lover. Yep, good ole Nick was a sensitive bad boy who loves to read. Alix at first grated on my nerves, but just at first. I was starting to get that "This girl is perfect" vibe which I can't stand. Nobody is perfect, so I can't stand a perfect character. Not realistic to me. She became human after a couple of chapters.
The story was soap opera-ish and like I said above, melodramatic. I was taken for a ride, a love ride. There's a lot of mistakes, a lot misunderstandings that could have been avoided but what's life without a little drama. :) Oh, and you well shed a tear or two.