Book review: Fish in a Tree

Andrea Huete, Copy Editor (She/Her)

​​As an Early Childhood Education major, I was required to take a class called Survey of Middle-Level Education, EDFN 300. My instructor, Betsy L. Schamber, had us read a novel, “Fish in a Tree,” by Lynda Mullaly Hunt. After reading it, I want to encourage others to read it as well, as it’s worth a read!

Hunt spoke in a “Fish in a Tree” welcome video, she had mentioned that teachers didn’t care whether or not she completed her work and turned it in. However, her 6th-grade teacher, Constantine Christy, completely changed her life. 

“He completely changed my own perception of who I was and what I could accomplish and what I would be when I grew up,” Hunt said.

In 6th grade, she was able to read a book for the very first time. And from that day, she thought of becoming a teacher, and she did. She also began writing and eventually became an author, and because of her experience, Hunt decided to write the book, “Fish in a Tree.”

The main character in the book is Ally Nickerson. Her father is in the military and her mother works as a waitress in an ice cream shop. She also has an older brother, who is just the sweetest. Ally struggles in school because she has dyslexia.

Ally doesn’t know about her condition, as she thinks that what she had is normal. Because of her condition, she is portrayed to be a troublemaker who often gets sent to the office because of her disobedience and outbursts. Throughout the book, one sees how her character develops. We see how some people encourage her and how others make fun of her.

According to Decoding Dyslexia TN, “dyslexia is a neurobiological brain difference that affects people’s ability to manipulate language.”

“Dyslexia never goes away, but people with dyslexia can learn to read if, and often only if, they are taught with structured literacy with helps to rewire their brain,” Decoding Dyslexia TN reads. 

People who have dyslexia don’t have problems understanding their language, but it does affect their reading, writing, spelling, math and many other areas of life and learning, which is why they suffer low self-esteem and feel stupid.

The setting of the novel mostly takes place at school. Ally is overwhelmed with emotions and often thinks of becoming invisible and starts devaluing herself. It’s important to reach out for help, or accept the help of others even if it may be difficult. 

Overall, I truly enjoyed reading the book. I even teared up at the end as I wasn’t expecting the book to end in such a way. But, I still encourage others to read it. Not only will people get to view dyslexic people in a whole new way, but they’ll also get to ride a rollercoaster of ups and downs in Ally’s life.