I grew to like this book more as I went along. In the beginning, I wanted to smack our heroine a lot, but by the end, I understood more of the point of the novel.
This young girl moves from strange circumstance to stranger circumstance
after a number of tragic events. By the time she gets to the state park
and "The Indian" I was getting pretty darn tired of the author placing
her in a particular situation just to bring the story to closure. The
plot devices were just not subtle enough for my taste, and it wasn't
like I couldn't see where we were going to end up.
But I did appreciate the tone of Campbell's storytelling. Her writing is
particularly good at giving you a visceral understanding of the river
environment and the people who feel innately wedded to the river and its
life, and who couldn't live apart from it. This is a world I know
nothing about, and she made it completely real to me.
I have a feeling that this tale might be best read by someone younger
than me who has a hankering to live off-grid. In some ways, it provides a
roadmap for those folks, and I can imagine it'd be darn lonely to feel
so very different from everyone else. It also might offer some
consolation, especially to girls, for having confusing teenager-y
feelings and not knowing the right way to turn or the right person to
rely on. I wouldn't call this a young-adult novel, but it's likely best
read by those in that age group.