Under the Birch Tree
by Nancy Chadwick



She Writes Press, 2018. ISBN 978-1-631-52357-1.
Reviewed by Shawn LaTorre
Posted on 04/09/2018

Nonfiction: Memoir

Writers sometimes claim to revel in the solitude of their youths, getting lost in nature, hobbies, writing, or books. Others, such as Nancy Chadwick, languish in the silences, longing to connect in some way with the nearness of others even as the confusion of how to do this prevents it time after time.

Chadwick, the author of Under of the Birch Tree, felt agonized growing up in a family of four who rarely spoke to one another. She became connected to things around her rather than people. As she matured, she began to understand the quiet role of her father as a dissatisfied husband who eventually left the family and remarried. His absence created a ripple: the house would be sold, forcing her mother to accept the challenges of becoming a single, independent woman—which she eventually did, at a time when both Nancy and her brother Tim were to strike out on their own.

Relationships confound and confuse a young professional Nancy. "Why doesn't anyone want to be with me? I'm a nice person, I'm smart, I have a job, and I'm self-sufficient." As she struggles to make sense of those around her, Chadwick clings to the steady visions of birch trees that seem to be found wherever she is and to her belief that "God will not let anything bad happen to me." Indeed, her faith protects her as she comes to terms with a blossoming self-worth, and the meaning of life as it unfolds for her.

Chadwick has succeeded in creating a touching memoir worth reading for anyone, especially anyone who struggles with job security and finding a sense of belonging. Her incredible faith and perseverance are testaments to the strength she garners throughout the many trials she encounters in her career. "Tears shed on the outside matched some on the inside, but they always dried up and I moved on."

A reader should expect a memoir to make full use of personal pronouns, and this one is no different. Arranged chronologically to cover a critical segment of her life, Under the Birches ends with a beautiful quote from Hermann Hesse that I wish could have been scattered throughout: "For me, trees have always been the most penetrating preachers. I revere them when they live in tribes and families, in forests and groves. And even more I revere them when they stand alone..."

It is in standing alone for so long that Nancy Chadwich finally looks around and discovers her tribe.


Nancy Chadwick grew up in a north suburb of Chicago. She worked ten years with Leo Burnett advertising agency and then turned to banking. Ten years later, she turned to writing, finding inspiration in her years in Chicago and San Francisco. This memoir and her essay entitled "I Called You a Memoir" are two examples of her beautiful, heartfelt style of honest writing.

Authors/Publicists: For promotion purposes, you may quote excerpts of up to 200 words from our reviews, with a link to the page on which the review is posted. ©Copyright to the review is held by the writer (review posting date appears on the review page). If you wish to reprint the full review, you may do so ONLY with her written permission, and with a link to http://www.storycirclebookreviews.org. Contact our Book Review Editor (bookreviews at storycirclebookreviews.org) with your request and she will forward it to the appropriate person.

StoryCircleBookReviews.org has received a copy of this book for review from the author, publisher, or publicist. We have received no other compensation.

       
   
StoryCircleBookReviews provides a review venue for women self-published authors and for women's books published by independent and university presses.


Email me with news about your book reviews



Sarton Women's Book Award


Your ad could be here.
Advertise with us!


   

Visit us on Facebook and Twitter and goodreads.





Buy books online through amazon.com by simply clicking on the book cover or title. Your purchase will support our work of encouraging all women to tell their stories.
This title is currently available ONLY as an e-book
#visitors: