THE OAKS, BY RIP RENSE            

TThere was something oppressive, malignant in Charlie Bogle's idyllic world. Something he did not understand. Something that left him feeling loathed, exploited, worthless. Something that he was instructed to introduce as. . .his mother. Well, at least there were the oaks. They were outside his window at night, and in the fields he walked through on his way to school, in old tennis shoes with cardboard in the soles. They were his pillars, his bulwark, his friends, his family, and it crushed the boy when he finally had to leave them. “The Oaks” is the story of Charlie's sad, crazy, hilarious and heroic struggle as he grows up in Beatles-echoing, 1960’s California bedroom-community America. A miraculous, almost magical country town where lions roar like morning roosters, rockets break the late night sky, and the gigantic summer days are made of nothin'-to-do. Rense writes with grace and poignancy in this lyrical, touching novel of triumph.

a tale of triumph.
"You may laugh and cry on the same page."---Sherm Plepler, Los Angeles.

Rense interviewed about "The Oaks"
in Ventura Star

''Edgar Sawtelle' Vs.'The Oaks'   
 by Barbara Weeks here.

Susan Christian Goulding's
Daily Breeze column on "The Oaks" here.


"This book deserves to be read by hundreds of thousands of people It is a gem that talks to a diverse group of people: those  who grew up in dysfunctional families(!); Southern Californians who will love the suburban anecdotes; teens and everybody who has ever been a teen with all the awkwardness those years impart. It's also quite funny. Readers simultaneously laugh while groaning over these horribly insensitive 'adults' raising Charlie, who is much more adult than they are."
---Susan Christian Goulding, columnist for the Daily Breeze,
 People Mag. Correspondent.

“A masterly blending of nostalgia, wit, and keen observation as revealed through the all too human heart of a boy struggling to find his place in the world of the tumultuous Sixties. The result? Sheer magic.”
---Gary L. Coffman, Visalia.

"Staggeringly well written. . .sweet. . .funny. . .sad. . .elegaic. . .not a thought nor sentence out of place."
---Keith Snider, San Francisco.

“Rip Rense faithfully captures a precious moment in time, a bittersweet 60’s coming-of-age story, set against a musical backdrop that sweeps from 'La Boheme' to 'Sgt. Pepper,' that makes many delicious stops along the way. I stayed up to finish the last 100 pages.”
---Dave Allen, Thousand Oaks.

"My favorite part of the book (and perhaps this is the aim of all writers) is the last poem. I was touched so deeply that I'm going to have it framed and will enjoy hanging it in my home."
---Charles Moritz, Texas.

"It was also very funny, so I got to laugh as well as shed a tear or two. The poems were outstanding. You're a great writer. Let me know when your next book is published."
---Marge Hall, Menifee, CA.

"It’s Tom Sawyer without Huck Finn and the Mississippi River—a boy living a complicated, sometimes secret life underneath the radar of the self-involved
adults all around him."
---Dave Lindorff, PA.

"A breath of fresh air.  Poignant.  Funny.  Eloquent."
---Barbara Weeks, Oceanside, CA.

“I cannot put it down.”---Jeannine Mendoza, Los Angeles.

“A grand book.”---Gay Ausmus, Thousand Oaks, CA.

"I didn't want it to end."---Ella Frederickson, St. Petersburg, Fla.

"Rense sure pulled some things out my brain that I didn't know were still there."---Fred Hemmer, Fla.

"Very entertaining. Full of authenticity, wit and modesty."
---Geneen Lynch, Fla.

"The novel's pages are filled with pathos, digestible only by the ever-present wit, honesty and innocence of the young boy himself, as he reflects in a matter-of-fact way upon his distorted life, and desperately attempts to interpret the chaos around him. Yet, through the consistent, comforting companionship of music, a faithful family dog, the kindness of a well-meaning and protective big brother, heroic teachers, and the camaraderie of some childhood pals, he gains human dignity and purpose. Perhaps it is ultimately the wisdom and strength of the omnipresent, deep-rooted oak trees that give him his greatest solace, and model for endurance."

---Barbara Feraci, Boise, Idaho. 

e-mail Rip:


"It was surprising how much rain they kept out, the trees. Only fat teardrops of water fell around him, slapping the floor of thickly packed old leaves and grass, while just a few feet away, the rain curtain remained drawn. A feeling of peace stole over the boy. He felt suddenly safe, secure, even though the grayness of the day was fast waning into deep dusk. He knew this place, and it knew him. It was always there for him, even in a storm. He smiled inwardly, and wondered how it was that he could feel so comfortable up in an oak tree in a rainstorm, more comfortable than in his own home. Then it hit him: this was home." 

© 2007-09 Rip Rense. All rights reserved.