Avid followers of Dave Matthews and the Dave Matthews Band have probably already heard about the newly released publication “If We Were Giants.” Odds are if you’re a bibliophile you’ve heard about the book too. Apparently, a lot of people are interested in checking out this book because since its release it has shot up to #1 in Amazon’s newly released list. If for some reason the good news completely missed you, fear not. I’m going to tell you all the reasons you would thoroughly enjoy Dave Matthews’ collaboration with Clete Barrett Smith, “If We Were Giants.”
Dave Matthews started the imaginings for this story when he lived in New Orleans for a short time, recording music for his album "Big Whiskey & the GrooGrux King." While his twin daughters, who were quite young at the time, were playing in the majestic oak trees we’ve known here forever Matthews started thinking about the way humans interact with nature. The more the idea formed in his head, he eventually started also thinking about how humans interact with other humans. As the characters and world formed in his mind, Matthews eventually linked up with Clete Barret Smith. Smith is a young adult writer who has already authored a few successful young adult/ childrens books. The two men’s collaboration resulted in the unique coming of age tale in “If We Were Giants.”
“If We Were Giants” features the main character Kirra. Kirra starts the story as a ten- year-old story teller in training under her father. Readers learn about her family and society as she takes you along her every day life as one of the few chosen amongst her people to venture from their volcano hideaway into the outside world. This is not a story for the faint of heart though. Kirra ends up making a decision which results in a group called “the Takers” destroying her home and family. The story flashes forward to her when she’s 14 and has adapted to a new way of life with a new family. Her past constantly threatens to haunt her and she can no longer ignore it when the Takers threaten her new life with the Tree Folk. Readers have to follow the journey Kirra takes in attempting to keep history from repeating itself.
This beautiful story is aimed more towards a younger audience. It is fast paced and the most prolific of readers can probably finish it in less than a day. Despite it being geared towards preteens and teens, I believe this story shares lessons for all ages. The imagery and description are spectacular and you feel as if you’re a member of each of these fictional societies. The story also touches on the mental anguish a person who has endured a serious trauma in a striking and realistic way. Each character is fully developed and contributes their part to the story and its lesson. My favorite part overall is the way the writing brings to light modern issues in a more primitive setting. Issues like taking only what we need from the environment, collaborating with others for the common good, and having the strength to go on when the odds seemed stacked against you.
I wouldn’t be surprised if this novel turns into a movie sometime in the near future. The story is family friendly and I’m sure it would touch audiences of all ages. It’s my suggestion if you enjoy adventure stories with characters who exhibit a range of strong emotions you should pick this book up.
Byline: Thora Hughes
A general studies major pursuing her undergraduate degree at Southeastern Louisiana
University, Thora Hughes dreams of one day working in a field relating to literature or
music. You might have heard her voice on Friday nights when she hosts KSLU’s only all
request love show, HeartBeats from 8-10 pm. During her time at KSLU she’s been a jack-of-
all trades working in production, content creation, social media management, and