About Shelly Brimley
Shelly Brimley was born in Flagstaff, AZ, where she lived most of her life until moving to Mexico to study abroad. After graduation, Shelly did some volunteer work in Africa and completed her graduate degree while working in an adolescent drug treatment center. After acquiring her Master’s degree, she worked as a counselor at a residential shelter for children who had been smuggled and trafficked into the USA from different countries around the world. She also taught English to adult refugees before resigning to raise her children. Shelly wanted to use her experience working with others as a source of inspiration in her writing, offering a voice for those who are not typically heard or considered.
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Review by Anniek
In Take me to the Willow you'll get to meet Will and his family. Living in the early 1900's Will is writing in his journal about his life. After reading his mother's journal he decided to also write his own so he can give this to his children in the future. Will lives on a farm with his father, mother and sister. His best friend Charlie and his father Lawrence are close friends and also work at the farm. Charlie and Lawrence are colored and not all of the townspeople have lived past the times of slavery.
Will has a wonderful family. They are honest people who work hard to provide for everyone in the family. When Will is 18 years old he meets Hannah. From the very first time he sees her he knows he wants to marry her. On their wedding day he writes her a letter so she can always remember how much he loves and appreciates her. Throughout the years you will learn how Will's life continues.
It has happy stories, but also very sad ones as there are in everybody's life.
On a very bad day a selfish young woman, Maryanne, accuses Charlie of a crime he didn't commit.
She is white and comes from a respected family. Charlie is colored and this accusation is what some people in town were waiting for. The following events will take you to one of the darkest days of Will's life. It had me crying full out and I kept on wishing that this day wasn't happening.
Will, his family, Charlie and his father are all such good people. They work hard, are honest and don't have a bad bone in their body. I loved to read about the strong bonds and the fact that no one cared about the color of someone's skin. All of them were friends until the very end and this warmed my heart and brought tears to my eyes.
Every time I read a book about this subject I can't help but to think about a song by Meghan Trainor. In this song she sings:
"Everybody's born to be different. That's the one thing that makes us the same."
This line says it all for me. We are all unique in our own way and it appalls me that some people are so shallow.
Take me to the Willow is a beautiful and emotional novel. Shelly Brimley has done a great job telling her story from Will's point of view. She was also brave enough to leave in the bad parts. The result is a compelling read that will get under your skin. I know I will keep thinking about this story for a very long time.
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