Monday, August 12, 2013

The Butternut Tree by Maureen Ann Richards Kostalnick

Avon, Ohio, was a sleepy little farm town in 1945. A simple way of life focused around strict Catholic doctrine, St. Mary's Church, and the objective truths and sense of right and wrong contained within those hallowed institutions. Tolerance was a luxury, one in which this town never indulged, favoring the rod over compassion. In 1928, when a young woman was the victim of sexual assault, she was tarnished, regardless of her subsequent marriage and a house full of children. Years after the assault, I was born into this family -- a family that shared a dilapidated farm house scarcely big enough to contain two people, let alone my grandparents, mother, sister, and two brothers. The townspeople's denial became condemnation as my father divorced my mother; the Town shunned our family and my mother took to her bed, unable to face herself or the world. Unaware of the cause of my mother's inability to function, I only knew I would grow to live a different life. I made a promise to that effect at the age of seven, under the shade and protection of my Butternut Tree. The fulfillment of that promise has taken many turns. "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." -- Eldon Thompson, author of The Divine Talisman

The Butternut Tree is a compelling memoir about a young woman and her mother and the dark secret that impacted them throughout their entire lives. 

The author wrote a very sad book with a powerful impact. It is about a sexual assault that profoundly impacted an innocent woman's reputation, making her ostracized in the eyes of the community. The impact could be felt into the next generation.  

The story takes us into the author's childhood where she has been abandoned by her father and must deal with a mother who can barely get out of bed due to her depression. 

Poignant, simple prose makes this a memorable read. An extraordinary tale that leaves the plunges readers into a vastly emotional experience.