The Bottle Tree

5.0 out of 5 stars Great read June 20, 2013

By Donna B. Smith

THE BOTTLE TREE by Robert D. Bennett intrigues me. Its setting, both in time and place, make me want to read more. Characters are cleverly constructed to create the tale. The area is one which we have visited, and it lends itself to the foggy mysterious. Growing up just across the boundary in east Texas pines and realizing that turpentine originates from the trees, I never knew or thought about such as the turpentine camps, but since reading Bottle Tree, I have done a tad of research about those camps. Among my acquaintances is a friend who lives in western Louisiana, and she says that she has family members who have mentioned them. So much in the book made me reach back into my own childhood, and the visuals unfolded easily.

5.0 out of 5 stars Touching Tale July 20, 2012
This is a short story, well written, drawn from a historical knowledge of the Turpentine Camps of Louisiana. The children, Caleb, Leesie, and Johnny, the main characters in this story are easily imagined, barefoot and laughing, running through the pines, from campsite to campsite. You can hear the dog, Bo barking as the go.
Although this story does touch upon the racial issues of the era, and the poverty in which the children were living, it is handled with a respectful tenderness, I find is missing from many stories written today. 

I must admit, I re-read the last ten pages several times, as the ending was surprisingly different than I expected. Life is not fair, as most adults discover, and this is touchingly true in this story also. This book will stay with you a while…but is totally worth it.