Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Book Review: The River by Michael Neale

“You were made for The River . . .”
Gabriel Clarke is mysteriously drawn to The River, a ribbon of frothy white water carving its way through steep canyons high in the Colorado Rockies. The rushing waters beckon him to experience freedom and adventure.
But something holds him back—the memory of the terrible event he witnessed on The River when he was just five years old—something no child should ever see.
Chains of fear and resentment imprison Gabriel, keeping him from discovering the treasures of The River. He remains trapped, afraid to take hold of the life awaiting him.
When he returns to The River after years away, his heart knows he is finally home. His destiny is within reach. Claiming that destiny will be the hardest—and bravest—thing he has ever done.

I was drawn to this book even before I read the description above. The rich design of the book called to me. The cover of this book looks like a worn leather bound diary, and that makes it even more special once you get to know the book after each page. 

The writing is terrific. Just like a good story teller you have to feel the story as you read it from the page and Michael Neale does a fantastic job of keeping me on the edge of my seat as I read each page. I feel the air, the mist and the passion of each life in the book. It is an art to be able write so well the reader is able to feel the emotion in the character and live in the moments that are written on the page.

In The River, the debut novel by Michael Neale,the story begins with a hike in the woods. Father John Clarke and his five year old son Gabriel take a long hike to a beautiful view over the canyon and the river below it and engage in an intense game of marbles. While playing, they hear two kayakers in trouble, headed for an un-navigable section of the river that would certainly result in their deaths. In the process of rescuing the men John Clarke loses his life before young Gabriel's eyes. Gabriel, his little life shattered, finds himself living with his mother on a Kansas farm. He grows up, still haunted by the loss of his father, and becoming a young man who is quiet, reserved, frustrated, unable to really live. When his best friend calls one day and invites him on a camping trip to Colorado, he reluctantly agrees, facing his demons hoping to find himself were he was lost so many years before.

Instead of finding himself in Colorado, he finds The River. It seems to call to him, speak to him, and draw him near. He becomes friends with Tabitha, a girl he meets on the trip, and she invites him to Colorado for the summer to work at her father's white water rafting camp. He agrees, after being drawn both to Tabitha and The River, and the trip changes his life forever. Gabriel finds himself, but also finds his home.

The River is an amazing allegorical tale that will draw you in and change how you see your own life. Its a book to keep coming back to over and over. 

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com  book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255  : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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