The Child’s Secret by Amanda Brooke / Book Review of Tree
After completing a book, my first thought usually is that I have read it before. This has been happening for the last year. When I completed The Child’s Secret by Amanda Brooke, the first book that came to my mind was It Ends with Us by Colleen Hoover. That stupid book I read when I was young. The book was targeted towards the young readers to show them how abuse works. But coming from a happy family, it is difficult for me to grasp the concept of domestic abuse. Though I have observed it around.
This book is involved with more than just abuse. The Child’s Secret is about how man deals with uselessness and helplessness. How it is so important for us to be God. How it affects everyone around us if we are not in control of the situation. The more I read, the more I agree that it’s the physical strength of man that takes us to the top position. It all ends up to who can throw a bigger punch. It does not end with girl saying No.. it ends with the boy accepting that No and moving on.
A girl is missing and the police are interviewing a park ranger who befriended the girl in the last few months. As the interview goes on, we discovered that the park ranger is involved with the girl’s parents too.
The girl makes a wish by writing it on a paper and putting it in a tree – which the park ranger has told her has wish granting power. But the park ranger reads the wishes, and somehow ends up fulfilling the wishes of the girl. Like helping her fathers get a job, or arranging a small vacation. Somehow the opportunity was always there for the park ranger to make the girl’s wish come true.
The park ranger has his sadness and depression to deal with, and then there is the English teacher who wants to be in his life. She is a ‘i can fix him’ girl and he is ‘i am too broken to be fixed’ boy. When the English teacher fails, her ego crashes and she runs to the person he doesn’t want her to go to. The person is the father of the girl. The father and mother of the girl is going through a domestic challenge. Which is the crux of the book.
Situation Issue vs Personality Issue
When it comes to domestic abuse or violence, we can divide the cases in two parties. Either the person has anger issues and he tends to become violent during the emotional outburst. I have seen people who start punching when they are excited and happy. So it is natural for them to punch when they are angry and sad. But then there is the situational anger, where the person becomes angry and violent during a certain situation. Most of the time this situation is helplessness arising due to poverty.
Men are supposed to be providers. Take the job away from the men and make him useless for several days. The guilt and shame of not supporting his family will drive him to madness and crime. It’s always about having power. Money brings power. If the man does not bring the money, then he is powerless. So another way to claim power is to show physical strength. Which you cannot take away from the man. You can take the money, post, and influence out of the person, but the physical strength is his. When there is nothing, he will use it to move ahead. It could be to fight, doing crime or to physical labor. Different people deal with this in a different way.
There are two men in the story. Both have their issues.
The first is not dealing well with his job and turns to alcohol which starts a downward spiral. The other man is running from his past.
The first man fails to provide monetary support to his family and becomes violent. The second family fails to provide emotional support to his family and runs away. Somehow the book tries to portray the second person in a good light. Though that person is not hitting anyone, he has done his share of damage to his family. But when it comes to another person’s family, he is trying to protect the family from its man.
Which is what looks like the hypocrisy of the protagonist. To support any one man and his way of dealing would be stupid. There is no right and wrong in the book.
About the girls
There are two girls in the story. English teacher dating the park ranger and the wife of a violent person. Whole the first one is trying to change the person because she craved the depressed bad boy vibe.. And the second girl is in delusion that she deserved what she has.
At some point when we go through lots of bad things, we begin to believe that we deserved it. There is something wrong with us, and when we get the chase of having the good thing, we refuse it. Because in our heart we really think that we are not allowed to be saved. We have picked our battles and we should die fighting them. The body in motion likes to stay in motion.
The park ranger also thinks he deserved it all. The girl is ready to take it all. The excuse they made is they are doing it for the kids.
But we forget that kids also have a small mind which is capable of thinking small thoughts. These thoughts make them take the decisions. Decision that adult should be taking. Like leaving the situation entirely.
Language and Pacing
The book is fast paced and you can easily complete it 2-3 sitting. The story unfolds through two PoVs. One is the interview, where the park ranger and cop gives insight into current situations. Then the police asked the question. The new chapter gives the answer to the question.
Like Mr Sam, how do you get to meet the mother of the girl? The next chapter will tell the story leading to the meeting with the mother.
I like the way the story is presented. It keeps you in both past and present. But I don’t understand what the cop was doping. They interviewed the person who was searching for the girl.
So the stakes were high – the girl was missing, but it was never shown through the response of the cops. If the cops are not shown to try much harder, then how big a crime it is.
The book I read was The Treatment, where the cops fight everyone to get to the bottom of the case. He did everything in p[owe to search for the boy. But then again, that was the book from inspectors PoV and this one is from the family.
Though I want to avoid this type of family drama book, I want to read something more concrete and dense, but right now I have all this on my shelves. Though currently I am reading crime and punishment.
Do I recommend The Child’s Secret?
I do not want to because it does not have any literary value. But if you like reading family dramas with emotionally explored characters, then this book is for you. I am sure I am not going to read Amanda Brooke anymore. Not for me.