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Beyond the Tree House

  • Published: May 2001
  • Format: Perfect Bound Softcover(B/W)
  • Pages: 377
  • Size: 5.5x8.5
  • ISBN: 9780738855585

Beyond the Tree House tells the story of Michael Goldman growing up in an upper middle class, white neighborhood in the 1950’s. As the novel opens, Michael, adopted with roots unknown, anguishes over pending criminal charges which threaten to send him to prison. The charges, inconsistent with his character, provoke a myriad of questions for those who know him. Why would this brilliant college senior jeopardize his future by committing a felony in broad daylight? If innocent, why would he remain silent? The answers to these and other questions, including matters relating to Michael’s roots, become part of a puzzle of seemingly mismatched pieces.

From the outset Michael is attracted to his best friend’s blond, blue-eyed sister. In the intelligent and quick-witted Karen, Michael meets his match. However, budding romance takes a back seat when Michael is forced to choose between Karen’s magnetism and an oath of loyalty to her brother.

The novel is divided into two parts. Part I, Chapters I through IX, flashes back to a series of events between 1950 and 1957, involving Michael and his friends. These events often appear disconnected but bear surprising links to Michael’s criminal charges. Behind youthful exchanges, a mystery, peppered with contemporary social issues, develops. Moreover, the precocious Michael entertains sophisticated insights, even as he engages in behavior typical for his age. In Part II, Chapters X through XV, which takes place in 1960 following Michael’s junior year in college, the pieces come together in a dicey game of courtroom charades, but only after a trip to discover Michael’s birth mother takes an unanticipated twist.

Growing up in the 1950’s, Michael is forced to confront the post World War II myth that right and wrong are divided by a bright line, as clear as the white and black hats of the era’s popular TV westerns. He is forced to face the subtleties underlying the social issues of the day and to come to grips with his own flaws and prejudices at a time when “Separate but Equal” was still the law of the land.

Because he is adopted, Michael must also address the fallacy of the idealized, virtually uniform American family, as depicted in early TV sitcoms. His unknown roots plague him with an identity crisis, one which Michael finally addresses in a most unexpected way.

Beyond the Tree House invites one to journey back with Michael Goldman to what is often viewed as a simpler time. Share his experiences from early youth with its tree house escape and discover how complications creep into his life. Explore how, in the face of a changing American society, this precocious and sensitive young man, confronted with criminal prosecution, digs deeply within himself to resolve conflicting issues of friendship, loyalty and love. Along the way, in a mathematical model, sample a pretzel, with its twists and turns, and see how it becomes a metaphor for the tangle which results when these issues become intertwined. And re-visit that metaphor in a very different context when, finally, the issues are resolved.

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Perfect Bound Softcover(B/W)
Price: $22.99

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