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January 22, 2007

Peace Like A River

For my next trick, I shall attempt to write a review for ANOTHER book that I just finished. Only took me three days. All this extra time is LOVELY for book reading, that's for sure. Today I picked it up in the car after making a few deposits at the local Wells Fargo, figuring I'd read a bit before I decided which direction to head next. Because at the time, I had no clue what I wanted to do with the remainder of the day. So? I spent the next three hours in the parking lot, finishing the book. Absolutely fabulous, this book.

Peace Like A River
by Leif Enger

Leif Enger's best-selling debut is at once a heroic quest, a tragedy, and a love story, in which "what could be unbelievable becomes extraordinary" (The Miami Herald). Enger brings us eleven year-old Reuben Land, an asthmatic boy in the Midwest who has reason to believe in miracles. Along with his sister and father, Reuben finds himself on a cross-country search for his outlaw older brother who has been controversially charged with murder. Their journey unfolds like a revelation, and it's conclusion shows how family, love, and faith can stand up to the most terrifying of enemies, the most tragic of fates.

Now, I'm not one to put a whole lot of stock in reviews. Since moving to the area, Caleb and I spend a lot of time trying to decide what to do - usually, where to eat. We look up on Yahoo different restaurants in the area, and read their reviews, which usually ends in laughter. Tonight for instance, we read a review for a restaurant that praised the food, service, and ambiance, but was VERY upset because it wasn't "walker - friendly". One review saying the food too spicy, one saying it's too bland. It's all about opinions, and I generally like to make up my own, first. Anyway, where were we? Reviews? Ah yes, the book. It has a good 4 pages of reviews before the book starts. 'Nuff said, right?

I really enjoyed the voice of the narrator, the 11 year old boy. It was written almost as if he were looking back on his life, telling someone his story, and he tells it the way it happened. It's honest and real. You get to see the true unconditional love between family members, despite when things go wrong, and that subject just isn't lit upon very much these days. It has a very religious undertone, though not to any one church in particular. Miracles are a constant throughout the book, and you find yourself expecting them around every corner. I loved to read the exchanges between the two youngest siblings, Reuben and his little sister Swede. His undying love for his little sister, and her devotion to him. It's a beautiful story, set in a beautiful landscape in a time when everything seemed simple, slower. When a warm peach pie can make your day.

It's hard to write a review, I end up feeling like a groveling lover, anxiously trying to put all my feelings into a few short sentences. So I'll just end with a few little snippets, good little bits.

"Let me say something about that word: miracle. For too long it's been used to characterize things or events that, though pleasant, are entirely normal. Peeping chicks at Easter time, spring generally, a clear sunrise after an overcast week - a miracle, people say, as if they've been educated from greeting cards. I'm sorry, but nope. Such things are worth our notice every day of the week, but to call them miracles evaporates the strength of the word.... Real miracles bother people, like strange sudden pains unknown in medical literature....A miracle contradicts the will of earth....My sister, Swede.....offered this: People fear miracles because they fear being changed - though ignoring them will change you also."

It's nice to know that in our tumultuous world, there are still people who believe in real miracles.

Oh, and definitely add this book to your Must-Read List.


Em said...

Is it one of those touchy-feely type miracle books? I read Mitch Albom's "Tuesdays with Morrie" and thought it was a little too over-the-top-rip-your-heart-out. I'm less of an emotional reader. But if you recommend it to an old cynic like me :) I'll read it.

KimbaLee said...

I also read "Tuesdays with Morrie" and liked it, but yeah, it WAS kinda mushy. A little too mushy for me.
This book is WAY better. WAY.

Sherry said...

I added a link to to your review to my Saturday Review of Books at because I like Peace Like a River, too. You're welcome to add a link to any future book reviews that you post. I do the Saturday round of reviews every Saturday.

Carrie said...

(Found you via Semicolon.)

I read this book last year. I found it haunting and unforgettable. I REALLY enjoyed it! It was good to read a review of it again and hear what you thought of it. I love that you parked in a parking lot for a few hours to read! How many times have I done that?! Too fun!