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Up High in the Trees: A Novel by Kiara…
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Up High in the Trees: A Novel (edition 2008)

by Kiara Brinkman

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1918110,220 (3.39)24
"Told in the deeply affecting voice of an extraordinary eight-year-old boy, Up High in the Trees is a startling debut novel about a family in turmoil after a tragic loss." "All who know young Sebby Lane understand that he is an unusual child in many respects - that he experiences the world around him more vividly than most, a condition that only intensifies after the death of his best friend: his mother. Sebby misses her so acutely that he begins to dream about and even relive moments of her life, retreating deeper into himself until he is almost inaccessible to his father and teenage siblings.""In an effort to give them both the time and space they need to recover, Sebby's dad leaves his older children and takes Sebby to live in the family's summerhouse. But his father deteriorates in this new isolation, leaving Sebby to come to terms with his mother's death alone. Desperate for comfort and guidance, he reaches out to a favorite teacher back home in letters that reveal his private thoughts and fears as he struggles to understand his mother - both her life and her death - and is led to wonder if he, too, is meant to share her fate."--Jacket.… (more)
Member:Booksmith_in_SF
Title:Up High in the Trees: A Novel
Authors:Kiara Brinkman
Info:Grove Press (2008), Edition: Reprint, Paperback, 336 pages
Collections:Your library
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Up High in the Trees: A Novel by Kiara Brinkman

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» See also 24 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 8 (next | show all)
I thought this was an amazing first book by author Kiara Brinkman. Told from the point of view of an 8 year old boy, Sebby, after the death of his mother, this was a sad book. However, the path through grief is different for each person and the way they need to deal with it makes this book hard to put down until completed. ( )
  Dianekeenoy | Jan 25, 2014 |
Reviewed by Mrs. Foley

Really great book...written from the perspective of autistic boy. You learn about his family (mother's death, father's problems, siblings) all through his thoughts. I would never pretend to know what goes on in the mind of an autistic kid, but the book did make me feel like I understood it better.

Review from Publisher's Weekly:
The Asperger's afflicted narrator of Brinkman's sincere, sober debut struggles to cope with his pregnant mother's recent death after she was hit by a car. Already keenly sensitive to emotional and sensory stimuli, Sebby Lane finds his mother's loss almost unbearable; he acts out at school, biting a girl on the shoulder. Sebby's father, Stephen, is nearly unable to function, and, in an attempt to help both Sebby and himself, takes Sebby to the family summer home, hoping that a change of scenery will ease their mourning. Once there, however, Stephen slips ever deeper into his misery. Sebby, however, reaches out, writing letters to his teacher and befriending two unpleasant neighbor children. Though the narrative direction is muzzy and the conclusion is saccharine with forced uplift, the cast is portrayed with keen sympathy and sensitivity-no easy task with a young, on-the-spectrum narrator. Told in brief poetic vignettes, the novel moves quickly and episodically, like a series of snapshots from the camera of Sebby's unique mind. ( )
  hickmanmc | Jan 24, 2012 |
This is an unusual book about an unusual boy. This story's narrator is young Sebby Lane, who is trying to make sense of life in his crisis-striken family. A number of reviewers / blurbers describe Sebby as autistic. The book itself never labels him thus. He does clearly have many characteristics of the Autism Spectrum, though he also expresses some thoughts that would be very uncharacteristic of someone on the spectrum. Of course, it's a spectrum -- nobody has all the possible traits.

I found myself drawn into Sebby's story through his eyes which see the world in a unique way. This is a quick read. While the book weighs in at over 300 pages, many of the pages are not full. Sebby tells his story in bits and pieces, so there is a lot of "white space" on many of the pages. Sebby's voice takes some getting used to, but by the end of the book I felt like I knew him -- and he seemed one of the most "normal" people in the book. Some aspects of the family situation seemed a little implausible at times, but the story worked.

A thought-provoking story. ( )
  tymfos | Apr 10, 2011 |
Up High in the Trees is an endearing story told completely from the perspective of an 8 year old trying to come to terms with concepts too broad for his small shoulders to bear. Sebastian “Sebby” Lane lives with his father, a music professor, and his older sister and brother. Sebby exhibits symptoms of autism, probably a milder form called Asperger's syndrome. He can speak, but only in short sentences that sometimes seem inappropriate or illogical. He takes great comfort in routine and shuts down when stressed, retreating to hiding places under his bed or under tables. But he displays none of the savant abilities associated with autism in the popular imagination. Five months earlier Sebby's mother was hit and killed by a car while jogging at night. She had been pregnant; carrying a baby they had already named Sara Rose. All of them are rubbed raw with grief, barely clinging to their routines just to stay alive. In narratives that range from just a few lines to a couple of pages, Sebby describes the months that follow his mother's death and ominous implications about his mother's mental health seep through; her death seems less and less accidental. It’s profoundly clear that he and his mother adored each other and sought refuge in a special emotional space amid this family. I used to write notes to Mother and hide them in places. Now, he's left with his memories of her, memories he's desperate to retain. I can't fall asleep because I know what I want is to remember everything Mother did.
Up High in the Trees is not a novel about autism, it's about grief, and Sebby's innocent voice speaks for anyone bravely grasping for order and solace amid unspeakable loss. This poetic novel provides real insight into the soul of a unique child through simple observation and it is a novel in which the smallest, quietest moments are the most shattering. ( )
4 vote curlysue | Jan 29, 2011 |
difficult to read, as it's close to the bone. Written from a child's perspective....and the child is most certainly ASD. You feel what he feels through words you wouldn't choose yourself....a brilliant experience. ( )
  donkeytiara | Sep 5, 2010 |
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"Told in the deeply affecting voice of an extraordinary eight-year-old boy, Up High in the Trees is a startling debut novel about a family in turmoil after a tragic loss." "All who know young Sebby Lane understand that he is an unusual child in many respects - that he experiences the world around him more vividly than most, a condition that only intensifies after the death of his best friend: his mother. Sebby misses her so acutely that he begins to dream about and even relive moments of her life, retreating deeper into himself until he is almost inaccessible to his father and teenage siblings.""In an effort to give them both the time and space they need to recover, Sebby's dad leaves his older children and takes Sebby to live in the family's summerhouse. But his father deteriorates in this new isolation, leaving Sebby to come to terms with his mother's death alone. Desperate for comfort and guidance, he reaches out to a favorite teacher back home in letters that reveal his private thoughts and fears as he struggles to understand his mother - both her life and her death - and is led to wonder if he, too, is meant to share her fate."--Jacket.

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