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The Penny Tree

by Holly Kennedy

      An absorbing story that sparked my interest from the first sentence and held it through the last. I was immediately engrossed in the story of Annie's life and her trials. A touching story that, more than once, moved me to tears.

Annie Hillman, separated from her husband, is struggling to raise her two children as a single parent. Her youngest son, Eric, has struggled with catastrophic health problems for most of his life. Her older son, Luke, will barely speak to her and is out-of-control. Annie loses her job as a physical therapist and with no income and daily calls from bill collectors, moves back to her small home town. Unable to find a job as a physical therapist, she takes a dead end job as a receptionist in a funeral parlor.

During these rough times, she begins to visit the penny tree. At twelve her father introduced her to the penny tree by nailing a penny bearing the year she was born to the tree. This is a very special tree bearing very special memories.

Then an ad appears in the paper along with a picture of a younger Annie. The message of love is from a secret admirer from her past who appears to know her quite well. The ads appear for five consecutive weeks. Annie finds herself at the center of nationwide media attention.

During this five week period of time, Annie has a chance to re-examine the relationships she's had in her life. She remembers a question she wrote on the wall of a bathroom when she was twelve - "Everything in my life just fell apart. Where do I go from here?" Two months later she visits this gas station again and finds someone has answered her question - "There will come a time when you believe everything is finished and that will be the beginning."

She discovers what's worth holding onto and what needs to be let go of.

The Book

New American Library
April 3, 2007
Trade Paper
ISBN13: 978-0-451-22055-4
ISBN10: 0-451-22055-2
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The Reviewer

Connie Harris
Reviewed 2006
© 2006