The Danger Tree: A Review
I’ve just finished reading David Macfarlane’s book ‘The Danger Tree’. Unexpectedly, I found it incredibly touching and emotive. Why ‘unexpectedly’? Well, books rarely have much of a long lasting effect on me emotionally, aside from an occasional buildup of suspense during the development of the plot, or sometimes a chuckle when I find something humorous. But this book is different. This is about where I am from; about my homeland.
The book tells the tale of the Goodyear family of Grand Falls, and points beyond, around the Bay. At first I thought the story was a work of fiction set in a framework of historical accuracy, written by a Newfoundlander. I was well into it before I realized that this was a personal account of several generations of a very real family, written by a mainlander! The tale took on a whole new seriousness after that epiphany. In fact, in some instances I went back through passages I’d already read and was rewarded with a deeper appreciation for just what Macfarlane was writing.
For anyone interested in an account of life in Newfoundland that encompasses the turn of the 20th Century, the First and Second World Wars, Confederation and the years following, this story is a great start! It was however Macfarlane’s description of the suffering in and out of the trenches of France that pulled at me. His words describe in no uncertain terms the futility, stupidity and complete waste of life, limb and mind that war most certainly is. He discusses also how the loss at Beaumont Hamel of so many of Newfoundland’s finest young men, affected the Nation [of Newfoundland]. I have often pondered this myself, how has the tragedy affected our relatives and homes, and our economic development? They had so much potential stolen away from them by the stupidity of mankind. We may have had great leaders, great minds, but we'll never know! I can’t reflect for too long on these thoughts without feeling a mixture of deep sadness and burning anger at the insanity that grips humanity over and over and over again!
In respect to David Macfarlane’s work and certainly to the sacrifice made by those involved in the many conflicts Newfoundlanders & Labradoreans (as we are now termed) have been thrust into, I’m making available for download, a song I recorded in the fall of 2015.
“Leaving the Lovely Young Ladies” is my heartfelt yet woefully inadequate tribute to all those affected by military conflict, then and now, as told through the eyes of a Blue Puttee.