The Tree of Seasons

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The Tree of Seasons
The Tree of Seasons front cover.jpg
Front cover of The Tree of Seasons by Stephen Gately
Author Stephen Gately
Illustrator Keith Wilson
Country Ireland
Language English
Genre Children's literature
Publisher Hodder & Stoughton[1]
Publication date
May 2010
Pages 306[2]

The Tree of Seasons is a children's book written by Boyzone member Stephen Gately and published posthumously by Hodder & Stoughton in 2010. It follows the adventures of three siblings - Josh, Michael and Beth Lotts - who are on their summer holidays, and is said to be similar in style to the works of Enid Blyton, C. S. Lewis and Walt Disney.[2]

Foreword[edit]

The foreword was written by Elton John and David Furnish.[3][4]

Introduction[edit]

The book's introduction was controversial. Written by Gately's partner Andrew Cowles, Gately's family were upset at references to Sheriff Street as one of "the poorest parts of Dublin City" and "a place of civil unrest and terrorist activity".[3] The content of the introduction prompted the Gately family to release a statement to the Sunday Independent, published on 16 May 2010, saying they "wish to make it clear that these statements are not correct and do not reflect the views of the family" and that Gately completed his secondary education and even attended college.[3] However in several early interviews Stephen himself confessed to leaving education to join Boyzone, and never completing his finishing exams.

Illustrations[edit]

Gately's friend, Keith Wilson, contributed black-and-white line drawings to the book.[2]

Completion[edit]

Following Gately's death in Spain in October 2009, the final drafts of The Tree of Seasons were completed in collaboration with June Considine and Jules Williams with Andrew Cowles writing the acknowledgements.[5]

Promotion[edit]

Andrew Cowles embarked on an "extensive publicity campaign" following the book's publication.[2] He appeared on The Late Late Show to discuss the book on 14 May 2010 and was nearly reduced to tears by the questions asked by presenter Ryan Tubridy.[6][7] Tubridy responded to criticism by later remarking that Cowles had given "a very solid, brave interview and I know for a fact that he's happy with the way it went".[8]

Reception[edit]

Irish Independent reviewer Sarah Webb remarked: "For a young man with no previous writing experience, the Tree of Seasons is quite an achievement" and "would make, with the addition of some powerful songs, an excellent musical".[2]

Sunday Tribune reviewer Pat Nugent compared it to Enid Blyton's The Faraway Tree series, remarked on "a host of kinks and clumsy moments that could have been fixed with relative ease", but said there was "a distinct possibility [Gately's] career as a children's author would have outpaced his status as a popstar".[9]

At least 10,000 copies of The Tree of Seasons were pre-ordered in Ireland and at least 5,000 copies were pre-ordered in Britain.[1]

At least 3,600 people called themselves fans on Facebook on the week of its release.[2]

The book spent 3 weeks on the UK Best Sellers list.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Tragic Boyzone star Gately set for bestseller list". The Belfast Telegraph (Independent News & Media). 11 May 2010. Retrieved 11 May 2010. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f Webb, Sarah (15 May 2010). "Review: The Tree of Seasons by Stephen Gately". Irish Independent (Independent News & Media). Retrieved 15 May 2010. 
  3. ^ a b c Hynes, Barry (16 May 2010). "Gately family hit out at 'damaged upbringing' slur in lover's book". Sunday Independent (Independent News & Media). Retrieved 16 May 2010. 
  4. ^ "Boyzone announce O2 date". Hot Press. 10 May 2010. Retrieved 10 May 2010. 
  5. ^ Reference page 1V The Tree of Seasons, published by Hodder and Stoughton Ltd.
  6. ^ "Gately's husband to appear on Late Late". RTÉ Entertainment. Raidió Teilifís Éireann. 14 May 2010. Retrieved 14 May 2010. 
  7. ^ Dillon, Fiona (15 May 2010). "Steo's husband left close to tears by Tubridy's quiz on star's death". Evening Herald (Independent News & Media). Retrieved 15 May 2010. 
  8. ^ McBride, Caitlin (18 May 2010). "Aoibhinn has been my rock since Gerry's shock death, says Tubridy". Evening Herald (Independent News & Media). Retrieved 18 May 2010. 
  9. ^ Nugent, Pat (23 May 2010). "Blossoming writing career sadly cut short, but there are root-and-branch flaws here". Sunday Tribune (Tribune Newspapers plc). Retrieved 23 May 2010.