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The Roots of the Olive Tree: A Novel (edition 2012)

by Courtney Miller Santo

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1742968,238 (3.47)19
Member:samaree
Title:The Roots of the Olive Tree: A Novel
Authors:Courtney Miller Santo
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The Roots of the Olive Tree by Courtney Miller Santo

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Showing 1-5 of 28 (next | show all)
I read this book for my book club selection this month, and it was interesting. I think it was somewhat hard to keep track of all the women, their husbands, their children, and their secrets. I guess I felt it could have been thrashed out with more character and story development, and although the aging research parts were interesting, it still needed more story development. If I were editing this book, I would send it back to the author and ask her to further develop the stories of the women and how those experiences impacted their growth as individuals. ( )
  readyreader | Nov 30, 2013 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
In so many ways this reminded me of my family. The women have long lives,their share of secret, and none of us are ever far from home. It was a nice family story that I look forward to giving to my mom and grandma. But what happened to Bets and Frank?!?! ( )
  angela.vaughn | Oct 9, 2013 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
This book about five generations of female family members who share a common trait- extraordinary health and longevity. They also share a complicated history and a host of secrets, and not all are delighted that a scientific researcher wants to learn more about them.

I found this book slow going in the beginning, and certainly the family relationships are complicated. However, once I got far enough into the narrative, I was carried along by the story and the quality writing. In the end, this was a wonderful family narrative, though the whole longevity thing seems in the end to be unnecessary. ( )
  ForeignCircus | Aug 27, 2013 |
Roots of The Olive Tree by Courtney Miller Santo
I was first attracted to this book because of the name, olive tree in the title. Coming from a family of nurserymen this would be right up my alley.
Love the proverbs and how they are useful to the olive pickers.
This is a story about 5 generations of women and there is a geneticist coming to find out why they live so long. He hopes to find out all their secrets.
Love hearing about the olive trees, nursery/grafting and why their products are so useful.
Picking olives sounds to me like what knitting does for me, very calming.
Such great treasures in the attic. One of the best books out of hundreds I've read this year. So fascinating to learn all about the DNA, the mutations and
what they can attribute it to. Love hearing about the location of where the book takes place as it's new to me.
Like how each of the 5 sisters got a large devoted part in this book. At the end it just all the mysteries come together and there are no longer any secrets to uncover.
For a book to be worthwhile to me it has to do two things: 1. take me away to a new place, describe it so well that i can feel myself there. This book has done that to the
point where I can reach up and feel the olives as they ripen, walking the rows of trees.
and 2. learn something new. This book has done that as well. Techniques of grafting the tree branches and the treasures they find in the attic.
One of the top 2 books out of hundreds I've read since Jan. ( )
  jbarr5 | Jul 25, 2013 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
I really enjoyed this book. It tells the story of five generations of women who are still living and the choices that they've made. I think my two favorite characters were the matriarch who was 110 at the time of the novel and the youngest who was in her twenties.

The book felt raw and real and really shared the emotions of life. The premise of the book is that there are very few families that are living such long lives and to have five women all in one family still alive is quite miraculous. The interest of a doctor trying to find the longevity gene is piqued and he also is involved with one of the women.

Definitely a good story.
  chutzpanit | Jul 1, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 28 (next | show all)
Santo paints a moving portrait of an extraordinary, yet flawed, family. Although in many ways the younger women benefit from the wisdom of the older generations, they experience a loss of autonomy from never truly taking charge of their families, causing each successive generation to be less grounded than the one before. An impressive debut that explores the importance of family, the destructiveness of secrets, and the ultimate liberation of the truth.
added by DorsVenabili | editBooklist, Kerri Price (pay site) (Jul 1, 2012)
 
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Epigraph
In the olive grove, a wise man at the feet and a wild man at the head.
- - Italian Proverb
Dedication
For Winnie and Sofia, who are the beginning and the end of my family's five generations
First words
Anna Davison Keller wanted to be the oldest person in the world.
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"Meet the Keller family, five generations of firstborn women-an unbroken line of daughters-living together in the same house on a secluded olive grove in the Sacramento Valley of Northern California. Anna, the family matriarch, is 112 and determined to become the oldest person in the world. An indomitable force, strong in mind and firm in body, she rules Hill House, the family home she shares with her daughter Bets, granddaughter Callie, great-granddaughter Deb, and great-great-granddaughter Erin. Though they lead ordinary lives, there is an element of the extraordinary to these women: the eldest two are defying longevity norms. Their unusual lifespans have caught the attention of a geneticist who believes they hold the key to breakthroughs that will revolutionize the aging process for everyone. But Anna is not interested in unlocking secrets the Keller blood holds. She believes there are some truths that must stay hidden, including certain knowledge about her origins that she has carried for more than a century. Like Anna, each of the Keller women conceals her true self from the others. While they are bound by blood and the house they share, living together has not always been easy."--Dust jacket.… (more)

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