Finding the Mother Tree: Discovering the Wisdom of the Forest, by author Suzanne Simard.
I love a good memoir, I love a good science nonfiction book. Finding the Mother Tree is a combination of both that tells the story of a researcher and her research but doesn’t get deep enough into the scientific discoveries. The book struggles to understand whoo its audience might be and how to deliver a satisfying book to them.
I picked up this book expecting to learn about how trees and other plant life communicate with each other, that’s how it was sold to me at least. It’s far more on the memoir side than the educational side. Perhaps this is simply a case of misleading marketing. Author Simard does have some interesting scientific lessons to give the reader but she focuses much more on her struggle within her male dominated fields of scientific research and logging in Canada.
Her story is valid and inspirational but it’s not exactly unique. Every book, article, or blog post I’ve ever read about a woman in the sciences has the same beats as Finding the Mother Tree. Yes, of course it was hard to balance work and family, but I’m here for the science! Especially since she doesn’t actually offer any advice outside of work hard and be persistent, I’d rather read about the trees.
By the merits of Simard’s writing alone this is a great book. She’s a skilled author who clearly has a deep love for the subject. Her passion for the forest is demonstrated throughout every action she takes and every page she writes. Finding the Mother Tree is personal and honest. Her words flow like a breeze through a dense forest and it’s lovely to read.
As a memoir the book is a success. As an informative science book I was left wanting much more. She is the expert in this field! From whom else should I get knowledge of how mushrooms and funji aid trees in exchanging information? That is some fascinating stuff but I feel like I was teased on the subject and now have to find a different book to learn more.
Go into Finding the Mother Tree expecting a memoir and it will likely be a better read for you. I’ll let you know when I find an informative companion read which will, unfortunately, be written by someone other than the top expert who did all of the groundbreking research on the subject.
4/5 trees 🌳🌳🌳🌳
For another woman of science memoir check out The Body Blog
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Buy it here: Finding the Mother Tree: Discovering the Wisdom of the Forest
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