Ruth Smith Meyer's Not Far From the Tree looks back at ninety-nine-year-old Rina Litz's life, beginning with some girlhood memories but mostly concentrating on her life as a young adult--courtship, marriage, and family life. Set in Canada primarily in the first half of the last century, these reminiscences involve an astonishing number of offspring and the changes of job and address that Rina's husband David makes as he tries to stay ahead of the bills and the Depression. Rina, meanwhile, gets to adapt as best she can. It's a tale of perseverance, faith, and doing the right thing even when it's exasperating.
It's worth noting that Rina is based on a real woman, so many of the twists and turns are not simply the product of an author's imagination. Also, most readers will not notice that this is in fact a sequel; the earlier novel was Not Easily Broken.
Rina's modern-day life forms the backdrop for her history as she prepares for a major family reunion, reflecting on the changes that the decades have wrought and the lessons she's learned.
Tomorrow I'll comment further on some of the lessons to be learned here--the good points, in other words.
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