Saturday, September 01, 2012

Book Review: The River by Michael Neale

I appreciate Thomas Nelson providing me The River to read and review. I consider The River to be one of those stories you need to feed your soul once in a while to remember you're alive.

The story first begins with the author at an airport suffering a flight delay. A man sits down next to him and launches into a story.

This story begins in Colorado with five year old Gabriel Clarke going to The River with his father, John. A man in a kayak appears around a bend, not knowing this section of The River is too dangerous, and goes over the falls. John goes in after him, and loses his life to save the man in the kayak.

The story then takes Gabriel to Kansas to stay with his mother on a farm. He grows up, still dealing with his grief and fear from watching his father go underwater and not come back.

After high school, he ends up in a soul sucking job at a five and dime. A friend invites (and practically drags) him to Colorado to The River on a trip with some friends from college. Gabriel is hesitant to go back, but feels the need to get out of Kansas and goes along on the trip. Between the trip and an invitation from a girl he meets to work the summer at her father's camp, Gabriel confronts his fears, his past, and has to come to grips with who he is and what and where he was meant to be. He also comes to terms with The River.

I wouldn't want to pigeonhole The River. I'd say it's a fast paced story (I read it in about 4 1/2 hours, and I'm not that fast a reader) and could be described as coming of age and redemption.

Anytime The River shows up in this book, it's capitalized. I think of The River as a character in the story. It's not just a place; it's alive. It has its own motivations and it steers the story.

The River is by Michael Neale and published by Nelson Fiction. It's publication date is September 18, 2012.




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