Book Review: Finding the Mother Tree

“I can’t tell if my blood is in the trees or if the trees are in my blood.

~ Suzanne Simard, Finding the Mother Tree

Synopsis

Dr Suzanne Simard writes of her own life, born and raised into a logging world in the forests of British Columbia, of her days as a child spent cataloguing the trees from the forest, hiding from bears and of the relationship she built with the trees – embarking on a journey of discovery, and struggle.

As she writes of her scientific exploration, she also shared her own journey of family, adventure and loss, of observation, change, risk and reward. She aims to make us understand how deeply human scientific research exists beyond data and technology, that it is more about realising who we are and our place in the world.

Her story shows us the true connectedness of the Mother Tree that nurtures the forest – much like families do, and how these inseparable bonds enable our survival.

Review

There’s something magical about forests. Trees have an ancient magical quality about them, which is evident in multiple fiction stories like Lord of the Rings and the Faraway Tree series. And there’s no better place to read a book than under a tree, enveloped in its giant security, savouring the shade it provides to us all.

While Suzanne Simard’s book is fact, it still contains plenty of magic. It might be a story of trees, but it’s about so much more.

Part memoir, part scientific research, Finding the Mother Tree reveals secrets of the forests and explores the harsh reality of being a woman in a man’s world, while also sharing an insight into Simard’s family, its history, loss and perseverance.

Dr Simard is passionate about preserving and enhancing nature’s biodiversity. Her research into the connectivity of trees and plants shows that even in nature, there is nurture and collaboration.

The subject is not for everyone, but it’s written well, making it engaging and compelling; by weaving in her family’s history, the book becomes less dry and more relatable. The picture she paints through her words is one of both beauty and brutality – there are even a few close encounters with bears!

Photographs not only help us to visualise the tree and feel the forest floor under our fingertips, but also give us an insight into the young girl who followed her passions and defied tradition, growing up to become a well-respected scientist and public speaker.

It’s heartfelt, thought-provoking and invites us all to connect with nature before it’s too late!

Rating: 4 out of 5.

I was provided with a copy of this book by Penguin Random House. All opinions are my own.

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