Wednesday, August 11, 2010

The Red Tree by Shaun Tan

I read this book almost weekly. That isn't saying much as it is a picture book, and there are very few words. But The Red Tree is one of the most magical books I own. Shaun Tan is some kind of God when it comes to pulling at the heart strings and his illustrations are divine. I remember the exact moment when I first saw this book. I was in year 12, in the library after school, desperately trying to fumble my way through an assignment and my stress levels were somewhat high. To say the very least. And I looked up and saw this on a shelf and was immediately lured by the cover. So I read it and I actually felt lifted up. Though this is a picture book I don't think it is for children at all. It is about hope and depression and is illustrated in such a moving and meaningful manner.

I have never suffered with depression, nor have I had a difficult life at all so I feel that I really can't adequately comment on this book, or that I am a fraud. And I am by no means suggesting that this book is an accurate representation of depression or can have an impact on a depressed person. However, to me, this book was so life-affirming and hopeful that I couldn't help but feel utterly radiant by the end of it. It is a book of real life magic and every time I read it I am sure that I glow!

The story begins with a young girl waking up in her grey room, looking grey and evidently feeling grey. Before she knows it her room is filled and she is engulfed by black maple leaves. As she goes about her day things just get worse for her. Her depression is illustrated so poignantly.



But then at the end of her day she makes it home. And there is a little bit of hope waiting for her, you know, just as you imagined there would be.

5 comments:

Jodie said...

I keep seeing this mentioned and it looks lovely. The picture of her in the bottle is my favourite.

Nymeth said...

Isn't this a beautiful book? Shaun Tan can do no wrong.

Amused said...

Oh I've never heard of this one before - looking forward to checking it out now!

Ladytink_534 said...

Love those illustrations!

Samia Hussain said...

very nice story