THE AUTHOR: Leila Meacham
“Tumbleweeds” is a story about the lives of three orphans, and how they affect each other. Our three main characters are Trey Don Hall, Catherine Ann Benson and John Caldwell. They are all striving to survive and to succeed in their prairie-set tumbleweeds community, and together they form a bond between them that lasts forever.
Catherine Ann Benson is brought into the prairie community when she is 11. When she arrives she is a “selected mute” as her parents have just been killed in a car accident, and all to which she was accustomed has been taken from her. She is left to live in a run-down house with a grandmother she’s never seen before, to live in a much different community and to follow a lifestyle to which she is not accustomed.
Trey Don and John instead are the “stars” of the sixth grade, and they immediately take Catherine Ann under their wings for a lifetime of protection.
I felt the book moved along at a good pace until the last third, when it seemed to bog down greatly with excessive explanation. It could have been wrapped up much quicker, and I really grew tired of waiting for the explanations to be over. Because of that I’m giving the book 2.5 tiaras out of 5. This book was 456 pages and it did not need that much time and space to finish the story. It could have been told much more efficiently, and perhaps reveal the true value of a talented and interested literary editor with a sharp pencil and plenty of time.
I don’t know exactly how to explain it, but I just did not like the way that the entire book made me feel. It was a real downer! So this author has the demonstrated ability to cast a very agonizing aura on your reading experience, and if that was her intention, she succeeded completely. That may mean that she is a very talented author, but just not my cup of tea.
Don’t get me wrong — I wanted to know what was going to happen next, and I did care. But this is not a “feel good” book. It will not make you feel uplifted and in a good mood. It is dark and unhappy for the most part. And I don’t know about you, but I read for enjoyment, and I did not enjoy this book until it was over.
Trey Don Hall turns out to be a big football star, and he uses his abilities and charm to make life easy for himself. John Caldwell is his side-kick on and off of the football field, and benefits or suffers as a result of it. Catherine Ann is an above average student who is set on becoming a doctor from an early age, but has to deal with the result of loving these guys for the rest of her life. You have to decide whether that is a good or a bad situation.
This story is filled with turmoil. There are twists in the story that will surprise and bother you. I guess that I assume the feelings of the characters as I read, and I found myself feeling very guilty, which of course did not feel good. Once again, the only time that I felt good during the story was when it was over.
Maybe I was in a bad mood while I was reading, but I just didn’t enjoy this book. For that reason I don’t recommend it during this Thanksgiving season, and instead recommend that you find a more uplifting book. This one really disappointed me. I will tell you that I think that this is a book you really do not care for or you really like. Because some of my book club members gave it 4.5 tiaras. So I guess that leaves you to decide whether to read it or not.
Buice, a Carrollton resident, writes a weekly column for the Times-Georgian. anitabook.com.