Tuesday, February 18, 2014

The Money Tree

What would happen to world economics and financial markets if someone were to stumble onto a tree that could grow money?

The Frisby family, in Helen Yeomans’ The Money Tree, possesses such a tree; they call it Meshach. They have two groves of money trees on Ledyard Island in Canada and they grow US dollars.

George and Jane Frisby and their son Michael “Mike” and daughter Daphne “Daffy” are a most unusual family. Mike is twelve years old but is an Uncle Scrooge when it comes to money and negotiations. Daffy is addicted to economics, the financial market and reading. Her morning breakfast includes whatever her mother makes alongside The Wall Street Journal.

Daffy is extremely annoyed by the monopolisation of money and currency and, at some point, considers doing terrorist acts to bring the world’s attention to this problem.

The Money Tree focuses on both the idea of owning a money tree and on family ties, particularly the relationship between the four members of the Frisby family. Later, the story moves to ties amongst the islanders and how they react to and with the Frisby family.

Frisby dollars have been circulating freely for nearly ten years. Their only problem is the scent, which can be sensed by animals not humans. With the occurrence of several bizarre accidents, of animals greedily eating twenty and hundred dollar bills, an investigation begins and it is discovered that money can be grown not just manufactured.

The novel mixes storytelling with economics, the first of I’ve seen on such a professional scale. Yeomans does a great job and has obviously researched her subjects more than well. The concept of Bitcoin is nicely explained for those unaware of it. We also see how the internet plays an important role as everything is circulated in the news and how things can go viral affecting the whole world.

The Money Tree is a highly interesting novel that would be fun for many readers from teens and people frustrated with the modern finance to professional investors and analysts, to just about everyone who imagines having a money tree is fun and exciting. “They have no idea!” as Jane Frisby puts it.

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