Book Review: How I Became a Tree by Sumana Roy

  • ISBN: 978-9382277446
  • Genre: Non-Fiction /Memoir
  • Publishers: Aleph Books
  • Price: Rs.599/-  ( I got the book for review from the publisher)
In this remarkable and often unsettling book, Sumana Roy gives us a new vision of what it means to be human in the natural world. Increasingly disturbed by the violence, hate, insincerity, greed and selfishness of her kind, the author is drawn to the idea of becoming a tree. ‘I was tired of speed’, she writes, ‘I wanted to live to tree time.’ Besides wanting to emulate the spacious, relaxed rhythm of trees, she is drawn to their non-violent ways of being, how they tread lightly upon the earth, their ability to cope with loneliness and pain, the unselfishness with which they give freely of themselves and much more. She gives us new readings of the works of writers, painters, photographers and poets (Rabindranath Tagore and D. H. Lawrence among them) to show how trees and plants have always fascinated us. She studies the work of remarkable scientists like Jagadish Chandra Bose and key spiritual figures like the Buddha to gain even deeper insights into the world of trees. She writes of those who have wondered what it would be like to have sex with a tree, looks into why people marry trees, explores the death and rebirth of trees and tells us why a tree was thought by forest-dwellers to be equal to ten sons.

Mixing memoir, literary history, nature studies, spiritual philosophies and botanical research, How I Became a Tree is a book that will prompt readers to think of themselves and the natural world that they are an intrinsic part of, in fresh ways. It is that rarest of things - A truly original work of art.

Behind the Book

About the Author

Sumana Roy writes from Siliguri, a small town in sub-Himalayan Bengal.

Me thinks

This book is full of beautiful surprises, one that I would not only recommend to all serious readers but also cherish the experience of having discovered it for the first time. Like it is said in the blurb the author has mixed memoir, literary history, nature studies, spiritual philosophies and botanical research so nicely that the end result is a book that makes you go WOW on every word till the end and maybe.... even after that. 

Memoirs are something that extremely personal. With a lot of people aiming at penning them down, somewhere they have lost their real charm. Yes we all have lives worth talking about but not every minute detail needs to be glorified. Author Sumana Roy took my heart away by this unique way of penning a memoir. What grace, composure and lovely compilation!

I might not know anything about her but reading this book gives you a glimpse of life through her eyes and it is worth watching. She has captured such nuances of life through her constant comparison to plants throughout the book that you cannot help but wonder as to how did you never think like this. Her language is lucid, ensuring you enjoy her experiences as much as she did while penning them down. 

Like I would love to say, "This book has its heart at the right place!" with all it heartwarming narrative. Neither too sad, nor too happy it is contemplative in a happy way where you smile and then think about your life and start noticing the small trivial things which now seem of utmost importance.

This is one book that should be read by one and all to experience life on more close quarters.

Foodie Verdict

This book is like Lauki Kheer - traditional, conventional yet unconventional in a manner that soothes the heart!

Source:Veg Recipes of India

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