The River by Michael Neale
Thomas Nelson ISBN 978-1-4016-8848-6
A cancelled flight and a traveler’s encounter with a stranger in an airport can sometimes bring surprising results. The River, by Michael Neale, opens with such an encounter between two men who under different circumstances might never have met. Casual conversation leads to the telling of a story. Gabriel Clarke is one of the strangers and The River is his story. As a young child Gabriel lived with his father, a single parent, in Colorado where the family had established an inn and a whitewater adventure camp. The River was an essential part of their lives. It was also at The River where Gabriel witnessed a horrific event that was to shape his future. After the tragedy, he lived with his mother in a small Kansas town and he rarely experienced life outside this place. He was filled with sadness and haunted by his memories of his time at The River. When he was a young adult an unexpected invitation offers him the chance to return to The River. Filled with trepidation he makes the trip. The end result is life changing.
Mr. Neal is a superb story teller. The characters are well developed and believable. This is a story of courage and it is inspiring, as well. The author’s attention to detail and his use of imagery result in a wonderful reading experience. I recommend reading this book.
I received this book free from the publisher, Thomas Nelson, through the BookSneeze book review bloggers program. I give this review of my own free will.
With Or Without You: A Memoir by Domenica Ruta
Spiegel & Grau ISBN 978-0-8129-9324-0
Domenica Ruta’s memoir, With Or Without You, is the story of her life thus far. Shockingly honest and honestly shocking, this is an astonishing memoir. Domenica Ruta grew up in Danvers, Massachusetts- a town where witches were once hanged. Her mother, Kathi, is a complex woman who was wildly unpredictable, frustrating and unstable. Kathi was a drug addict. During the course of the book she managed to be poverty stricken, a millionaire as well as being a drug dealer. She raised Domenica in a home filled with trash and drugs were always present. The morals of the company she kept were questionable at best. Her parenting skills left a great deal to be desired. Domenica is the child whose mother took her along when she took a fire place poker to the windshield of someone elses car. She is the same child whose mother kept her out of school to watch a movie on tv. In time, Kathi’s addictions became Domenica’s as well.As pivotal a character Kathi was in Domenica’s life, this is Domenica’s story of how she views her life. Despite the the chaos her mother created, Kathi saw to it that Domenica was educated and exposed to culture. Domenica somehow manages to describe their bizarre existence with humor and insight. She eloquently writes about how her life unravels and the realization that she has to divorce herself from her mother in order to survive.
Ms. Ruta has written a powerful, unforgettable memoir. She is a gifted writer and her story is mesmerizing.
I received this book at no charge from Library Thing and I give this review of my own free will.