Monday, April 14, 2008
Peace Like A River
My friend, Alisa, brought this book to our book group Christmas Gift Swap. I was the lucky recipient. Thank you, Alisa!
I had heard that this was a good book and interpreted those comments and the title into thinking that the book was going to be slow and deep and introspective. It kind of is. But it's also a page turner, which surprised me.
The story is told by Reuben Land, an asthmatic boy of eleven who searches for his outlaw older brother with his younger sister and father. Reuben believes in miracles. He has to. He has seen too many to not believe. His father possesses some kind of power to perform the impossible in Reuben's eyes. Strangely, as an adult reading it, I was torn thinking that the things he witnessed were either the fanciful imaginations of a wide-eyed boy or, in fact, wonderful miracles. I'm such a cynic. Yet a believer.
This book reminded me of two great books. One is To Kill A Mockingbird in that the father is calm and all-knowing...willing to do the right thing at whatever cost. Swede, Reuben's younger sister, is very "Scout"ish. The other book is The Life of Pi. Again, the narrator is a young boy who, in duress, witnesses miracles that explained, would not make sense to anyone else. They would probably even be ridiculed. But the boys still believed.
This book is peaceful and uplifting but also tragic, sad, funny, gritty....I could go on. Read it. It's a good one.