Simply put, Memories Under the Giving Tree explores the daily life of a young girl, who is placed in an orphanage by the Courts, after her mother is declared "unfit". The inner turmoil of fighting with the reality of being taken from her family, and literally separated from her brothers is terribly difficult for a six year old to grapple with. Authority and peer pressures she face test her tenacity and prideful spirit. She cries herself to sleep many nights, wanting to be reunited with her mother and brothers.
She is a stubborn, willful, child who can be aggravating, and at the same time charming. She is a rebel and loves adventure. If life is boring, she finds a way to make things happen. However, having no other choice, she learns to cooperate and halfway behave. The other half is another situation. Her antics and creativity both get her in trouble, and save her from herself.
Manipulation, rudeness, and temper slowly transform into cooperation, respect and self control. Early on, she is drawn to an isolated, grand tree at the back of the property. She wanders down the road, and discovers a freedom she desired.
With permission, she takes her problems, frustrations, excitements, accomplishments, isolation, wonders and sadness to the Tree. Here she cries, laughs, sings, tells stories some real, most not. Here, she finds a place of solitude. There are no voices answering her questions, or advice helping with decisions that need her attention. It is a place to be alone and think. She can revive her inner spirit.
Years later, she realized that this was her "God Tree". And the many loving, caring people she encountered were like the branches of the tree. They supported her and challenged her to grow. She learned many lessons at the orphanage, and the most important one was "all children are worth saving."