Third Willow

 
0.0
 
5.0 (5)
3119 0
Third Willow
Author(s)
Publisher Name
Lenore Skomal Press
Age Group
10+
Published Date
March 22, 2013
ISBN Number
978-1478192497
ASIN Number
      
It's the summer of '54 in the sleepy midwestern town of Sand Flats, Nebraska. Four lonely misfits forge an unlikely friendship under the draping branches of the third willow--a safe place where humor, magic and sorrow coexist. There they discover that best friends can ease the pressures from the adult world that threaten to steal their innocence. Ringleader Hap--a poor man's Peter Pan--is unwilling to let the abuse of his alcoholic father taint his boyish optimism while he secretly searches for his missing mother. Obsessed with his Indian roots, he constructs a carefree world on the outskirts of town. As the new kid in Sand Flats, tomboy Patsy joins him, eager to escape her father's iron rule and the pain afflicting her wounded brother, a Korean War veteran. Together, Hap and Patsy befriend timid Beah, who struggles to earn the love of her cold mother following the death of her only brother. It takes levelheaded Raz, the eldest of the only Jewish family in town, to be the conscience of the group. Told through their eyes, this is a tale of a summer of unbridled adventure, which ends unexpectedly and abruptly forces them all into adulthood. As tender as it is intense, Third Willow will transport you to the last summer of your innocence.

User reviews

5 reviews

Overall rating 
 
5.0
Writing Style 
 
5.0  (5)
Plot/Story 
 
5.0  (5)
Illustrations (if applicable) 
 
N/A  (0)
Characters (if applicable) 
 
5.0  (5)
Editing/Design Quality 
 
5.0  (5)
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Great Book - Very Easy Read
(Updated: April 08, 2013)
Overall rating 
 
5.0
Writing Style 
 
5.0
Plot/Story 
 
5.0
Illustrations (if applicable) 
 
N/A
Characters (if applicable) 
 
5.0
Editing/Design Quality 
 
5.0
Third Willow is a very easy book to immediately get into and following along with. Lenore does an awesome job bringing each of the characters to life. The struggles that each of the children and their families deal with, were as relevant in the 50's as they are today.

This book was a definite page turner, filled with interesting details. It was very descriptive and kept me engaged up until the very end. I would highly recommend this book for teenagers as well as adults.
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I felt like I was there
Overall rating 
 
5.0
Writing Style 
 
5.0
Plot/Story 
 
5.0
Illustrations (if applicable) 
 
N/A
Characters (if applicable) 
 
5.0
Editing/Design Quality 
 
5.0
This book is for readers who want to think and experience real life, not escape. Don't pick it up thinking it will be a frivolous childhood romp in the woods. Far from it. And yet the winsomeness of childhood is there intermingled with the tension and turmoil of impending teenage years.
Good Points
'Third Willow' is true to life, the life of pre-teens in the '50s when I grew up, and yet true to life today in its universal themes. People are people and we don't change all that much. We still wrestle with the same issues, although the language of the time and place may vary. I could feel myself back in the times of my childhood, my mother's kitchen, my friends' lingo as we roamed the neighborhood unsupervised, the frustratingly illogical prejudices of the time, the mood of war weariness and fear of confronting mental illness. That kind of writing takes talent and Skomal has that in spades. Heroes emerge, leaders step out, some follow, some disappoint, life isn't fair. These are all worthy lessons for young readers. And Skomal's style immediately draws you in and engages you in the lives and minds of the main characters. She weaves an amazing variety of issues into a fairly simple yet very dramatic plot. You won't want to put the book down until you finish. When you finish you will still want more and you will be thinking about the book long after you have turned the last page.
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This story of lost innocence is a thoughtful, engaging read
(Updated: April 03, 2013)
Overall rating 
 
5.0
Writing Style 
 
5.0
Plot/Story 
 
5.0
Illustrations (if applicable) 
 
N/A
Characters (if applicable) 
 
5.0
Editing/Design Quality 
 
5.0
For those who remember the angst of pre-pubescence, Third Willow, will have a familiar feel. The confusion of crossing that threshold from child to young adult is respectfully and sensitively portrayed through the hearts and minds of four young friends – Hap, Patsy, Beah, and Raz. These wise-beyond-their-years preteens spend the summer of 1954 hanging out as much as possible, away from their parents’ strongholds, on the outskirts of a rural Nebraska town. They grow up in a hurry as they wrestle with the adult problems affecting each of their lives. Lenore Skomal’s novel tackles heavy topics with honesty as the children grapple with complicated issues such as religious conviction, sexuality, prejudice, divorce, domestic violence, the effects of war, truth, loyalty and self-esteem -- universal themes as relevant today as they were some 60 years ago. There are more questions than answers posed in this book, superbly crafted by Skomal, leaving room for readers to apply their own experiences and to formulate – just as the children must – their own opinions.
Good Points
Third Willow sensitively and respectfully exposes teens and young adults to controversial adult-themed topics and would be an excellent vehicle for further discussion of those subjects.
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Emotional, thought provoking and relevant
Overall rating 
 
5.0
Writing Style 
 
5.0
Plot/Story 
 
5.0
Illustrations (if applicable) 
 
N/A
Characters (if applicable) 
 
5.0
Editing/Design Quality 
 
5.0
Lenore Skomal's novel, "Third Willow" is a thought provoking tale of the bonds of friendship of pre-adolescents Patsy, Hap, Beah and Raz. It takes place in the mid 1950s in a small Nebraska town during an oppressively hot summer. Each child is dealing with his or her own very real major issue at home and finds escape and a shared camaraderie with the other misunderstood kids under the shade of the willows on the outskirts of town. Ms. Skomal does a remarkable job of character development of the children. She delves into their innermost thoughts with the skill of a brain surgeon. Their musings were presented as very real and believable. But as with many friendships, sometimes they must undergo a test. Such is the case here. And it's a doozy! Will the bond that these pre-teens forged be strong enough to withstand a major blow at such an uncertain age? It's a blow that even the oldest and best of friends would be hard pressed to survive. You WILL want to read this book to find out.
As a side note, I found it fascinating that so many topics that we see and hear about in the news today were interwoven into the plot of a novel set in the 1950s, making this a relevant read for the 21st century. Mental illness, same sex couples, alcoholism, gun violence, religious intolerance - just to name a few.
I loved the vivid descriptions of the era! I wasn't alive in the 1950s, but with Ms. Skomal's "portrait with words" I felt like I had time traveled.
In summary, I thoroughly enjoyed this well written, thought provoking and sensitive book and I would highly recommend it to my friends.
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A novel to savor and linger over
(Updated: April 02, 2013)
Overall rating 
 
5.0
Writing Style 
 
5.0
Plot/Story 
 
5.0
Illustrations (if applicable) 
 
N/A
Characters (if applicable) 
 
5.0
Editing/Design Quality 
 
5.0
Third Willow is not a novel to rush through, but one to savor and linger over, mull and muse upon, and maybe enjoy with a rush of nostalgia and a tinge of wistfulness that'll remind you of a time that maybe is long past, yet just as precious today for its memories - or one you're still living through in some small way or the other, as you continue the ongoing struggle of "growing up" every day.

This book pulls you in and engages you in the story. Within a few pages, you'll no longer be reading a book. You'll be sharing the lives and dreams of Patsy and Hap, then Beah and Raz.

Centered around a majestic willow tree in a lovely remote part of Nebraska, the story revolves abount a tiny community and 4 of its young inhabitants.

You're subliminally aware that the tale is set in the 50s, in the aftermath of the Korean War, but you are more consciously involved in the lives, thoughts and pre-teen angst of the four young protagonists - which timelessly reflect the pain and pleasure of growing up and coming of age.

Third Willow traces their transition from childhood to adolescence through a series of circumstances, events and philosophies, doing this in an empathic and sympathetic fashion that will have you rooting for your favorite person, issue or challenge. And there are plenty, ranging from sexuality to spiritualism, religion to homosexuality, struggles of being honest and fair and loyal and morals in other words, the typical growing up pain all of us have felt as youngsters, and our little ones will feel as they grow up too.
Good Points
Rich, deep characters you'll get to know and love.
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