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“The River” – Book review

I still get that butterfly feeling in my gut.

. . . I think that feeling will always be there whenever you connect with something bigger than you. It’s part of what makes life beautiful.

If you stay connected only to that which is small enough for you to understand and control, then you have nothing.
- from The River: A Novel

The River is the first novel by singer/songwriter Michael Neale. And if this is an indication of what’s in him, I hope he’ll continue letting more of it out.

The-River_Michael-NealeIt’s a beautiful story about Gabriel Clarke and his tragedies and triumph with The River, but the bigger story is the underlying theme to be willing to take chances and push yourself beyond what you think your limits are.

While it’s not the greatest literature I’ve read, the story was compelling. It was challenging. And it touched me. Even surprised me (and I’m not easily surprised in these kinds of stories).

I particularly liked the set-up, from the beginning of “From an Entry in a Journal” and the Prologue to the Epilogue at the end. An 11-question reading guide is included, with heavy-hitting questions like this,

# 8. Tabitha tells Gabriel, “most people don’t take time to really see what’s all around them.” Have you ever been guilty of this? How can you make sure you’re “seeing” what’s around you? What’s the consequence if you don’t?

And lastly, one of my favorite quotes from the book:

Don’t ever settle for the shore, Gabriel. Get all the way in.

Get all the way in. That’s good, real-life advice I’m taking away from this piece of fiction.

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