The Man Who Planted Trees by Jean Giono: A Book Review

jeanAfter long, long consideration, I changed my 3 stars into 4 stars. It is awesome, inspiring, and deeply moving. This is the essence of writing reviews of books. I can understand a book more deeply. Besides, I love reading this kind of story. It has almost something to do with God’s Providence despite the fact that I have frozen my faith.

What lobbied me?

First, I liked the way Jean Giono himself introduced his story by giving us his wisdom.

“ For a human character to reveal truly exceptional qualities, one must have the good fortune to be able to observe its performance over many years. If this performance is devoid of all egoism, if its guiding motive is unparalleled generosity, if it is absolutely certain that there is no thought of recompense and that, in addition, it has left its visible mark upon the earth, then there can be no mistake.”

Writing this part guided me to understand the crux of the story.

Second, the themes are about solitude, human spirit, simplicity, and environment.


I have this Trappist attitude. I prefer spending time doing things I want to do on my own. Not that I am a sociopath. In doing so is the way I find happiness and peacefulness. For sure, it is universal. But in the end, it is a choice.

Human spirit

As what the banal saying goes, “Nothing is impossible. “ We can do things we find idealistic in a simple and humble way. You do not need to be flamboyant.


Although life has many choices, we can still find happiness and peacefulness in leading a simple life.


I used to be an aggressive environmentalist. Reading this story chastened me that the key to saving our barren earth is human spirit. Sadly, I am still discouraged to advocate it again; I have backslid to self-delusion.

Finally, it is absolutely well-written. Every sentence is so smooth, meditative. It is apparent that Jean Giono had a deep impression.

In French language
In French version

Jean Giono is considered as one of France’s greatest writers. His prodigious literary output included stories, essays, poetry, plays, filmscripts, translations and over thirty novels, many of which have been translated into English. He was a pacifist, and was twice imprisoned in France at the outset and conclusion of World War II.
( Ref.:

So, don’t dare demote it to 2 stars. Take a stab at the French raconteur. He could make a big difference. ^^


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