Divining: A Memoir in Trees

Wayne State Univ. Feb. 2023. 200p. ISBN 9780814348420. pap. $19.99. NAT HIST
Professional editor and writing coach Dunphy (Great Lakes Island Escapes; All About the Great Lakes) writes a love letter to the important trees in her life. In this captivating book, she utilizes 16 of these trees, from sycamores to oaks to ginkgos, as a springboard to illuminate her life experiences from early childhood to the present. She also explores broader issues such as immigration, the nuclear arms race, tree pests and diseases, and protecting trees. The author believes trees have spoken to her and offered her reassurance a few times over the years, and she has spent the past several years learning more about them to write this memoir. Dunphy also profiles these tree species, with common and scientific names, native ranges, preferred habitats, size, life span, and uses for their wood. She finishes with a list of the old-growth forests still remaining in Michigan and resources for further reading.
VERDICT Dunphy’s charming, lyrical ode to her special trees will appeal to readers who enjoy natural-history memoirs, books about trees, and reflections on women’s lives and relationships with people, history, current events, and the natural world.
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