The River

The River by Peter Heller

Earlier in the summer, I listed 5 books that no matter how many other great books cross my path, I will definitely read as part of my summer reading list? To refresh your memory, they were:

  • A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles (Historical Fiction)
  • Inheritance by Dani Shapiro (Memoir)
  • Firefly Lane by Kristin Hannah (Contemporary Fiction)
  • The River by Peter Heller (Adventure)
  • Under the Table by Stephanie Evanovich (Woman’s Fiction)

I recently finished The River, #4 on the list.  This book came highly recommended. As a matter of fact, I have heard a few people rank it as the best book they’ve read so far this year.  Did it live up to the hype??

Not for me, which is a real bummer.  I was so excited to read this book! It occurs to me that maybe that was part of the problem.  Maybe my expectations were a little too high. But then I think to myself, “No that’s not it”, because I also had very high expectations of Firefly Lane and I was very pleased with that one.

The premise: Two friends go on a canoeing adventure in Northern Canada. I’m not sure if it outright says, but I assume they are mid-late 20s.  The are friends from college, and going on adventures like this is not new to them. They are experienced outdoors-men.

What starts out as a fun and manly trip gets waylaid by a nearby forest fire.  Then things keep going wrong. They have a run-in with some drunk men from Texas (and a second run-in with them later).  They see a husband and wife arguing on the river bank and then run into only the husband later on. Soon they have a near dead woman in their care, someone trying to kill them, the fire is getting closer, there is a potential rapist, plus their map is over a decade old.

While I did enjoy the descriptions of the scenery, I felt like some of that was a little wordy.  Many pages pass with nothing at all happening. Then, to the other extreme, I feel like so many things happened to these men that it didn’t feel realistic at all.

Also, I have learned that for me to like a book, I have to like at least one character.  I have to care about what happens to them. That is where this book fell down for me. I didn’t feel connected to any of the characters. It’s not that the author didn’t paint them well. I feel the author actually did a good job, I just didn’t care.  I can see how someone would love the setting, the characters and the constant drama. To me, this one just didn’t land.

However, just because I didn’t care for it, doesn’t mean you won’t think it’s awesome!  I encourage you to pick it up and give it a go, then let me know what you think!!!

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