Dr. Ellen K. Rudolph, Bowen Family Theorist and Therapist: "This is an ageless story as important today as it was in the 1950's. Every generation has its trials and tribulations; the real 'story' is about being able to come face to face with those old ghosts and laugh at them. This is a story that does just that."
Bryan Mihalakis: "David Nelson's compelling tale of personal triumph as told through the eyes of a young boy is a must-read for all."
Frank Wagner, Psy.D.; Professor of Behavioral Science. University of Medicine and Health Sciences, Basseterre, St. Kitts: "The Shade Tree Choir is the story of a boy growing up in a dysfunctional family. The family disease of alcoholism affects six and a half million children. Having alcoholic parents increases the chances that a child will become an alcoholic between five and seven times. Dry statistics are easy to ignore but David Nelson gives a face and a heart to the child growing up in that environment, and shows the reader the real pain that the disease can cause. He also gives us insight into factors that can moderate some of the damage-teachers, friends, and their parents play a significant role in keeping the young character Krame from going too far down a dark road. Those looking for a good read will find this to be a well-written and engaging novel. For those looking for hope, however, Nelson makes the case that fate's choice for parents need not condemn a child to a lifetime of misery."
Jack Trimpey, Founder, Rational Recovery: "The Shade Tree Choir is a very nice slice-of-life taken from the post World War II era, narrated by a resourceful boy who surmounted some family problems and now has wistful memories of days gone by. . . The pages are full of vivid characterization and action that anyone over 60 will resonate with as if it were then again today."
Dave Markward, Ed.D.: "Buckle up! This is not a read for the faint of heart. The Shade Tree Choir is raw and real. It is felt deep in the viscera. David Nelson is the Frank McCourt of the Midwest."
Margaret Tyler: "For fifteen years, I worked with students dealing with abuse and alcoholism in their families. David Nelson has addressed these issues with honesty and vivid descriptions. As I read the book, I felt like I should be there helping these young boys. It stirred up many emotions, and memories of when I was counseling young people."
Dan Hays: "For most children, when they feel endangered, the source of safety is to go home. For a child who grows up with an alcoholic, it's the opposite - home is dangerous, and safety lies in being anywhere else. The Shade Tree Choir captures that essence in a raw and powerful telling of the story of a child who grew up with a violent and abusive alcoholic. "Don't cry, or I'll give you something to cry about" is a phrase well understood by those who grew up under similar conditions - and David Nelson tells that story with a rawness that rekindles the emotions of that kind of life. It is a powerful story, well told. Though there may be greater understanding of that life looking back as an adult, the emotional scars always remain. "I will never forget and never understand why he did all that stuff to me." There is no rational explanation for the abuse the child suffered in that house. Though there can be incredible healing, physical and emotional abuse is a legacy that only those who went through similar can fully appreciate, and which resonates deeply through this gut wrenching telling of the tale. Anyone who wants to understand a child who grew up with an alcoholic will gain incredible depth perception by reading The Shade Tree Choir."
Charlene: "Mr. Nelson has written a profoundly eye-opening story about a boy who lives in the shadow of abuse. This is a coming-of-age story, filled with pain and tragedy, and the incredible spirit children are born with, that allows them to overcome such abuse. As much as it focuses on abuse, it is also a story of hope, redemption, and forgiveness. I highly recommend this book, for its lessons, and for its poignant beauty."
Excerpts from the Amazon reader review page...
"David's story of survival is a model for others because it shows that it can be done. It is also an interesting snapshot of what life was like in the mid-50's for kids from troubled and underprivileged families. I recommend it highly.
"I finished reading Shade Tree Choir today and an hour later am still moved by the story. Not a long read but a worthwhile one. Easy to read but because of the subject matter - abuse, alcoholism, death -- difficult to read. But difficult in a good way -- thought provoking. Thank you David for writing this book."
"There is only one word that can best describe this book and that is "Powerful". I grew up in the same era and it reminded me of the adventures I had as a youngster... We were just a bunch of kids making our own adventures."