The Mimosa Tree by Antonella Preto


MimosaAntonella Preto

Fremantle Press (2013)

ISBN: 978 1 922089 19 9

Reviewed by Pearl Maya

Words fail me when it comes to this book. I have laughed. I have cried. I have kept turning pages with amazing zeal, apart from the times when I have needed to put it down and just think. This is the sort of book that comes along once in a blue moon.

The Mimosa Tree a simple but passionate story based around the 17/18 year old Mira and her first generation Italian family. The book is more character than plot driven and is a wonderful opportunity to glimpse into the world of what seems like very real people.

I am not sure when a novel goes from being a book to “literature” but I am sure this could be nominated for the latter. Having said that, the style is in no way intimidating.

While the book certainly holds its own as it is, I would love to hear some of the conversations that could be held about symbols (the mimosa tree and the map for example); the role of foils; the theme of love; and the place of the immigrant voice in storytelling.

On a practical level, there are some drug references but they are in context and not glamorised. You would see worse on evening television so don’t let that put you off.

I have broken the my long held habit of not reading the blurb on the back of the book. While it is accurate as such, and would perhaps provide impetus for a reader to select it, The Mimosa Tree is so very much more than what those few words portray.

It would be an injustice if The Mimosa Tree was limited to just an audience of young adult readers. And now I declare an interest: I am the same age as the main character (well I was at the time) and  I grew up in a prominently Italian community in Western Australia. I KNOW these people, they were my neighbors. I would love to see this book on every holiday reading list for people across the country – teens and adults alike.

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