Book Review: Hidden Life of Trees

This was my first audiobook of the year! I started listening to audiobooks last year after I started driving to and from work, and it has been great.

The Hidden Life of Trees was eye opening, but it left me with bittersweet feelings. Peter Wohlleben is a forester and in his book he tries to explain the world of trees from their perspective, something completely new to me. We don’t usually think of trees the same way we think of animals or other humans, but Peter argues in his book that trees are capable of suffering, that they can communicate with other trees and they form communities. His account of this Hidden Life is beautiful and I enjoyed very much learning about them.

I was left with a bittersweet taste after listening to it, because this was the first time I stopped to consider trees. Of course I always advocated for them, deforestation and forest fires break my heart, and I enjoy being surrounded by trees. I have often joked with my husband about how much I like trees and I like to believe it is in my blood, as the name of the country I was born and grew up in, Guatemala, translates to Land of Trees. I can say that some of my favorite characters in literature are the Ents in Lord of the Rings. But The Hidden Life of Trees made me think a lot more about them. I used to never worry about city trees, but now I know they struggle to grow with roots under paved roads and with dogs peeing all over them. I now consider trees that are planted solitarily in a park or a back yard, or maybe accompanied only by other trees of a different species with whom they cannot communicate and thus cannot form “communities” with.

The study of trees still has a long way to go and we do not completely understand, and might never understand, everything that goes on with them. The Hidden Life of Trees makes a great job at starting a conversation, at sparking our curiosity. I certainly will think more and do more research before I plant a tree in my house someday, or before I cut some branches off. I will definitely keep learning about them, and bring it up in conversations.

I have always liked trees, and after reading this book, I like them even more.

My review: 5/5 stars ★ ★ ★★ ★

 

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