As the Berlin Wall falls, Josh and Katie are born on opposite sides of the world. A California skateboarder, Josh struggles to find his niche. Katie, a German who loves classic Swiss watches, is never sure she's good enough. Will their "chance" encounter break their psychological chains and free them to be who they really are?
Average Customer Rating:
(8 Reviews) 8
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8 out of 8100%customers would recommend this product to a friend.
Customer Reviews for The Blackberry Bush
Review 1 for The Blackberry Bush
powerful and thought provoking
Date:August 15, 2011
It didn't take long to read this book, but it won't leave me for a long time. After I finished it, including reading the questions and author comments, I wanted to immediately reread it. However that can wait until I've shared it with friends. I'm looking forward to more from David Housholder.
The Blackberry Bush had a unique literary style in the way the author crafted the story. The author's approach to storytelling was also unique and engaging. At first I found the story a bit challenging to follow due to the many points of view, but then I started to see a flow that made sense. The use of a narrator was a bit odd when the author could have merely used the omniscient point of view, however, when I saw Angelo as an angelic being in the story then it fit better. It kind of gave a heavenly perspective to the set up of the novel.
I always enjoy reading WWII era fiction and reading about all of the things pertaining to the war in Europe and the aftermath that followed. I clearly remember the time when the Berlin Wall came down because I was in college and it was highly publicized. It was a pretty exciting time in world history. In my mind I can still hear President Reagan's speech when he challenged the communist regime and said, "Mr. Gorbechov, tear down that wall."
Overall, I enjoyed this story. Again, the style was different then I am used to, but the content of the story itself was interesting. It was almost like reading a diary, only in this case it was multiple diaries all blended together. The author's intent seemed to be showing how things are all connected in the spiritual realm even though we don't always understand what is happening in the here and now. I found that to be the greatest strength of this book. On the flip side, there were some loose ends at the conclusion of the story that I would have liked to see tied up, but that was probably not the author's intent. Regardless, I still enjoyed the book.
Two babies were born on Nov. 9, 1989, Kati in Bonn and Josh in California. The Berlin Wall was crumbling. Fourteen years later the two are on flights at the same time, flying in opposite directions, switching continents. Kati is not beautiful like her favored older sister. She doesn't have perfect hair. She's skinny and looks like an awkward boy. Josh doesn't fit into his family. He cannot live up to his father's expectations. “...[I]t's impossible to please the judges in life. Eventually everyone eliminates you. How can I check out of this game and still stay involved in life?” (139) Though they have common roots, their lives do not cross paths until they are both twenty one. Then everything changes. Kati knows, “...for the first time in my life, my world has shifted into balance...as if I've been walking tilted, and now I'm standing straight.” (152) And Josh realizes, “Only by abandoning all attempts to meet others' expectations can you truly hear the voice of the Spirit and be freed to pursue what God would have you uniquely do.” (167)
This is a haunting book, portraying the physical world as it overlaps the dream world and the world of visions and truth. In some ways the story seems so simple. In other ways it is so deep I wonder how many times I'd need to read it to mine its depths. Interwoven through the narrative is the “backstory”, the lives gone before that make us who we are today. Another main theme is the blackberry bushes seen in each of their hometowns, at her school and at his surfing beach. Housholder says the bushes take over, just like darker parts of human behavior. They represent the thorny thicket that entangles us when face impossible demands. My favorite theme is balance. Josh's had a favorite painting given to him by his Oma – Vermeer's Vrouw met Weegschaal (Woman with Balance). He feels balanced when he is smooth on his skateboard. Kati feels balanced when she is working with her Opa's tools. A nation lost its balance on 9/11/2011. A Christian theme runs throughout the story as imperfect characters come to grips with their spiritual heritage and express their own faith. Another issue Housholder addresses is the teen cultures of today. Josh is part of the sports culture, outdoor oriented, and more conservative. Kati is part of the “scene” culture, with tattoos and studs.
The discussion questions (provided on two levels) help readers pursue important topics posed in this literary work. A couple include: Does everything happen by chance or your life have a bigger plan? How has the tapestry of our past influenced who we are and will become?
It is hard to explain this novel. It is beautifully written. It lingers in the mind. It makes you want to think about your dreams and your parents dreams. It stimulates your faith that God has a plan. He has been working in your life and will yet work more. You just need to read it.
I received a copy of this book from The B&B Media Group on behalf of the publisher for the purpose of this review.
This is a book that everyone needs to read. There are so many things that are quote worthy that my copy has pencil markings all in it and page references marked in the back.
As if the story was not compelling enough the author has been gracious enough to include a section of questions. If you are looking for an excellent book for a book club this is it! You will not be disappointed in the storyline nor will your group have a shortage of discussion regarding the topic.
This is a coming of age story of sorts for two very different people separated by a continent. They are connected by the faith of their grandparents and a story that connects them in ways they never would have guessed. An old story of love, treachery, betrayal of all sorts and the prevailing evidence of God's grace and forgiveness. This story comes together in the third generation and with it comes the finality of God's infinite love and power of restoration.
Join the journey that spans three generations. Be pulled into the story and discover the truth that resonates within the pages. Open your eyes to the back light of your own story - - Allow God to reveal to you the same power in your own life.
The book opens with this quote on page 16, "Walls are real, yet they always come down. Creation and Nature never favor walls. They start to crumble even before the mortar dries."
It ends with the following quotes: "But faith and blessings will always find a way to be fruitful and multiply./Faith like water, will always find its way back to its Source. Carry it, and it will carry you. Receive it from others, and pass it on to them." So profoundly simple: The spiritual foundations we build now will impact other generations, even if for a moment they seem lost.
Finally on page 171 and 172: "It takes a crown of thorns and truly good heart to destroy the wounding of the thorns of life./Curses are meant to be broken./Evil and brokenness are never even any good at being evil and broken. the Pharaoh always ends up at the bottom of the Red Sea. The evil dictator must die by suicide. Good is simply good at being good. And prevailing."
I love the look of this book with its tattered pages and paperback hardcover look. The story is about an intertwined family, who really don't know each other. The book begins in 1989 in both the US and in Germany when two babies [Kati and Josh] are born, and the Berlin Wall is coming down. Watching this while eating Blackberries is Angelo...who is either a Spirit or an Angel. We go through their lives and the book ends in 2032...there are chance meetings of the two in the book. The heartbreak the unites them is both sad and a double Love story. I would recommend reading this book, it is an enjoyable story. I was provided with a copy of this book by B & B Media Group, and was not required to give a positive review.
I was intrigued by the books cover. When I received my review copy I liked the feel of the book and loved the tattered pages. I highly recommend reading the author interview in the back of the book first. This helps set up the story and understand how this book was put together. In the interview the author reveals his heart and the meaning of the Blackberry Bush. This story was gripping and heart wrenching at times and is not one you want to rush through.
I personally found it hard to read this book in the beginning because I found it hard to follow as the author switches from character to character and from present to the future. Then there was an angelic being explaining things in-between! Once I got into the rhythm and felt for these characters it got easier!
This is the story of a twisted family history filled with horrific events and trumpets with a few angelic interventions I was thankful for. This fictional story was written in first person so it seemed to touch the depths of your soul and feel very intimate at times. Almost as if you were overhearing a very private conversation you weren’t meant to hear and it touches your heart, affects your breathing and you deeply affects the way you think.
I was thankful for Angelo the narrator of the story and that he explained a few things the reader really needed to know. Everyone has a back-story and comes to a cross roads in their lives that will affect the person making the decision and the generations that will follow in the family line. The aspect of this was huge, something I hadn’t considered before. I liked the discussion questions in the back of the book; it brought out so much of the book I hadn’t thought of before. I see how this would work well for a book club discussion.
Nora St.Laurent The Book Club Network www.bookfun.org Finding hope Through Fiction www.psalm516.blogspot.com
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Review 7 for The Blackberry Bush
Housholder at his best!
Date:April 16, 2011
MaryB at CC
A blackberry bush is not lone standing by nature. Untamed, it quickly snarls itself into an impenetrable thicket of barbs. When you reach in to pick the irresistible fruit of the blackberry, you come away scratched.
Kati and Josh, born a world apart on the day the Berlin Wall fell, share a destiny. Kati struggles with not being perfect. The world thinks of her as homely, but her grandfather, Opa, doesn’t see her outside, only her inside.
Joshua’s mother says of him, “We’re not going to have to take care of him much. He’s going to be okay. I’m sure of it. I can tell.”
One day Josh had a vision, and so the backstory begins. What does a heart with a gnarly crown of thorns around it have to do with his vision? “I never go a day without cartwheeling,” he says. “I can even cartwheel along the top of the old stone wall.” Josh is one who’d go for the fruit in the thistles.
The Blackberry Bush is packed with multi-dimensional meanings; a consecutive circle within a circle within a circle. Take your time reading it. It can’t help but grow on you; barbs and berries and freedom and faith. Brilliant story telling.
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Review 8 for The Blackberry Bush
Date:March 3, 2011
Location:Huntington Beach, CA
I received a pre-release copy of The Blackberry Bush this past fall. I couldn't put it down and read it in two short evenings. If I could only read one book for the rest of this year, this would be it. The Blackberry Bush is an essential book for all young adults, non-Christian and Christian alike. Give one to everyone you know. The themes of the book will stick with you long after reading it and help you to challenge your perceptions of the world and the relationships that surround us!