Welcome to my new review site! I’ve been intending to start one for a while, and I’m glad I could finally make it happen.

I have many names throughout the internet, but I usually go by Govneh, and secondly The Russian. My real name is Kristin and I’m a woman of many hats in northern California. I have a toddler and husband, three dogs, and we run a business out of our home. So for some ridiculous reason, I feel like I need to spend time reviewing books I read as well.

So. Tree is a Tree. I understand the name is a little out of left field but I can explain in short order. I had the fortune of having a series of fantastic English and literature teachers throughout my school career. I was exposed to a wealth of books, poetry, and storytelling in all forms, not to mention having a parent who read both to us and for their own pleasure at every available moment. To sum up: I love books.

One book that left a distinct impression on me was A Separate Peace, by John Knowles. Although I enjoyed the story on its own, it was the argument I had with my literature teacher that sticks with me 10+ years later. About the tree. That fucking tree.

Trust me, I understand the importance of themes and symbols in literature. I get the reason why we devote time to recognizing and analyzing meaning beyond the bare words, of seeking out what the author is saying beneath the surface.

On the other hand, I truly believe that you can just enjoy a novel for the story it tells.  Animal Farm  is both a striking statement as well as a fantastic tale. I enjoyed that book long before we discussed what Orwell was saying in it.

So back to the tree. Of course during the discussion of A Separate Peace, the symbolism of the tree was a hot topic. I understand the tree in terms of overcoming fear, growing up, peer pressure, a whole litany of graspable concepts, but as soon as the discussion turned to what the tree said about the war and how it compared to the Tree of Knowledge and the sins of Adam and Eve, I was done. I loved the book and sincerely feel as though these attempts to assign some far-reaching meaning to force the story into being something it may never have been intended to be cheapens the beauty of the the tale, the gripping glimpse into Finny and Gene’s lives.

Sometimes, a handmaiden makes a statement about class and society. Sometimes, the listed number of saved souls is a political statement. Sometimes, it pays to be a pig.

And sometimes, a tree is just a fucking tree.