A Key to Treehouse Living, Elliot Reed: Book Review

An impressive debut in a glossary-style list which deserves a place on your shelf, meet A Key to Treehouse Living by Elliot Reed.

The plot:

William Tyce is a boy without parents, left under the care of an eccentric, absent uncle. To impose order on the sudden chaos of his life, he crafts a glossary-style list, through which he imparts his particular wisdom and thoughts on subjects relating from ASPHALTS PATHS, BETTA FISH and MULLET to MORTAL BETRAYAL, NIHILISM and RELEVATION.

His improbable quest – to create a reference volume specific to his existence – takes him on a journey down the river by raft (see MYSTICAL VISION, see NAVIGATING BIG RIVERS BY NIGHT). He seeks to discover how his mother died (see ABSENCE) and find reasons for his father’s disappearance (see UNCERTAINTY, see VANITY).

But he goes about defining his changing world, all kinds of extraordinary and wonderful things begin to happen to him…

Creative and well worth the read

A Key to Treehouse Living deserves your time to be read in one sitting. It’s a short book, at only 226 pages, but when you read it, allocate a couple of hours to devour it. You’ll not regret it.

I read it in one sitting because it’s such an addictive formatting. It starts with words beginning with ‘A’ which relates to William’s life at some point – the first word being ABSENCE, so I am sure you can imagine what follows – and continues through.

It has a quirky narrative, unlike anything I’ve read before and I seriously enjoyed it. It left you, as the reader, to piece together what is happening through these glossary entries, as well as growing up with William; his language starts to change throughout as he grows up and battles his past.

There are moments to make you laugh, but mostly this coming-of-age novel moved me due to the way Reed has written Will. You get attached to him instantly, and it’s tough finding out things and his matter-of-fact or understanding persona.

An incredible book – creative and well worth the read. 4/5 stars.

A Key to Treehouse Living, Elliot Reed, RRP £8.99 (paperback); Book Depository 

Pages: 226

Publisher: Melville House

Genre: Fiction

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