Book Review: Letters to a Steadfast Tree

Letters to a Steadfast Tree by Kitt Eileen Reidy left me hanging on a limb. I read the last page, pressed my fingers to my forehead, and tried to disentangle the thoughts in my mind of both the positive and negative of her book.

The words were poetic, but it almost felt as if Kitt was hiding. In most testimonies or stories, authors reveal in as much detail as pertains to the story as possible without revealing names or straying from the storyline. There’s no doubt of the emotion in this book. I could almost feel her tears and helplessness even though I really wasn’t sure what was going on. Perhaps that was the point? Maybe she deliberately made it confusing? She writes scantly in her Amazon page, “Divinity explains to Lucy (the tree in the courtyard of Friends Psychiatric Hospital) how a woman’s spiritual journey became entangled with mental illness.”

If mental illness was what she intended to show, she did a great job. However, it doesn’t tell me anything about Kitt. It doesn’t really let me know her as the author. Like I said, it’s almost as if she is hiding, trying too hard to keep too much detail hidden. Some sentence structure and grammar issues exist, but not in a distracting way. The format of the eBook could be improved as all of it was published in a column to the left.

Her story was short. I finished it in less than an hour. I also had a problem with Christ swearing in the first letter. I realize these are letters she wrote while in the hospital, but it did bother me.

It’s a unique idea writing letters to a tree and making the writer of these letters representative of people praying for her, of God, and others. I’m not really sure I even understood some of the “writers” who wrote these letters. I think I would do an introduction in the beginning, and then expand on the letters. Allow more details on what led up to the episode and what she is doing now.

Unfortunately, I had to give the book two stars. I don’t think it’s finished yet. A well-known publisher (wish I could remember who) said somewhere that sometimes we write a book too soon before the story has time to germinate and grow. Kitt’s story is no doubt poetic and powerful, but it’s too short and too vague. It’s a story, I think, of mental illness and demonic possession.

*Book given by author to review

Guest Post: Alison Strobel – Bi-Polar Disorder and Christianity

By Alison Strobel

“Just because you didn’t want to turn out like your mom, and you did anyway, doesn’t mean there’s not a God. It just means that there’s a reason for you to be who you are.”  -Composing Amelia, pg.288

For those of you who haven’t poked around the site yet, there’s an article at the bottom of the Composing Amelia page that talks about how Christians should and shouldn’t respond to a person who has bipolar disorder (or any mental illness, for that matter.) But I wanted to use today’s post to talk a little more about bipolar specifically, and offer some encouragement to those of you who either suffer from it yourselves or who know someone who does. - Read More