Saturday, December 19, 2009

Peace Like a River Review

Title: Peace Like a River
Series: N/A
Book #: N/A
Author: Leif Enger
Pages: 311
Published: 2001
Reading Level: Young Adult/ Adult

Here's what I saw. Make of it what you will. 

Dead for 10 minutes before his father orders him to breathe in the name of the living God, Reuben Land is living proof that the world is full of miracles. But it's the impassioned honesty of his quiet, measured narrative voice that gives weight and truth to the fantastic elements of this engrossing tale. From the vantage point of adulthood, Reuben tells how his father rescued his brother Davy's girlfriend from two attackers, how that led to Davy being jailed for murder and how, once Davy escapes and heads south for the Badlands of North Dakota, 12-year-old Reuben, his younger sister Swede and their janitor father light out after him. But the FBI is following Davy as well, and Reuben has a part to play in the finale of that chase, just as he had a part to play in his brother's trial. 

Amber's thoughts: 
Unfortunately, it is rare to find a book that is filled with as much faith and love as this book is. Told from a young boy's point of view, the world is filtered through the innocent eyes of young Reuben. As a child, the world is full of magic and miracles, and Enger captures this belief perfectly. I found it hard to believe that such an honest story was actually pure fiction. I wouldn't have been surprised to find that Reuben was actually Enger himself, so convincing was his narration. 

Having grown up in a close family, I was really able to appreciate the bonds within Reuben's family. Nowadays, most TV and literature portray the average American family in a very poor light. Each family member cares only about his or herself. In this novel, we are brought back to a time when family was the most important part of life. What do we have when we can't turn to our family for love and support?

Having said that this novel is written in a believable fashion, I will admit that many parts were fairly predictable. Parts of the plot seemed somewhat worn out, and I felt that a few areas weren't very original. Those parts that weren't predictable were sometimes far-fetched or odd. These are the only reasons why I didn't give this book a higher score. 

Overall, I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a wholesome story about family. I read a lot of supernatural books, and it was refreshing to journey back to 1960 and read about an average family who is forced to endure exceptionally difficult circumstances. There were a few flaws, and I would say that this is a wonderful piece of literature.