Monday, January 11, 2016

Campbell, Bonnie Jo (Once Upon a River)

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.

No comments: