The Blackberry Bush
First edition cover
|Cover artist||Charles Brock|
|Genre||Coming of age
|July 1, 2011|
|Media type||Print (paperback)|
The Blackberry Bush is a coming of age novel, and the debut novel written by American author and pastor David Housholder. It was published on July 1, 2011 by Summerside Press. The book explores the lives of two children born on different continents as the Berlin Wall falls, and shows how their lives intertwine over several decades.
Main characters Josh and Kati are born on different continents the moment the Berlin Wall falls in 1989. The narrative is non-linear, jumping back and forth from time periods between World War II and 2031. Kati grows up in Germany, and ends up in Los Angeles, while Josh grows up in the United States, and spends time in France. Common issues of their generation, such as alienation and instability, are illustrated as the two main characters discover their common backstory. They struggle to come of age and come to faith, not always succeeding. The climax of the book culminates around a brief encounter between the two as Kati is accidentally swept into the Pacific Ocean near downtown Huntington Beach, and Josh is able to rescue her using some of the instincts he has developed as a surfer.
The “blackberry bush” itself is a metaphor for being trapped in the universal human condition, and the novel is full of biblical symbolism. Housholder's central argument is that one can have a fulfilling life despite failing to meet the expectations of modern society.
Another major theme of the book is the importance of family acceptance and support, at any age.
The Blackberry Bush received generally positive reviews. Turkish book critic Simay Yildiz of zimlicious described it as "a beautiful journey" and "one of the most beautiful books I've ever read." Michael D. Bobo of Examiner.com considered the book "a tremendous story with allegorical implications." Criticism focused on the book's confusing, non-linear structure as well as the personalities of the two main characters. The book currently maintains an average customer review of 4.5 out of 5 stars on Amazon.com. The novel was nominated to the short list of the INSPY (Christian Fiction) awards in the general fiction category.
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