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The River Paperback – September 18, 2012


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Thomas Nelson; First Edition edition (September 18, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1401688489
  • ISBN-13: 978-1401688486
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.2 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (201 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #432,007 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Gabriel Clarke’s life is wholly devoted to “the River,” a stretch of rapids in the Colorado Rockies. He can’t bear to be away from it; its power is undeniable. Neale’s novel is a powerful allegory about faith in something more powerful and mysterious than oneself. Gabriel loved the River as a child, but when it took his father and he was sent to live with his mother in Kansas, he developed a fear of the water. A trip to the River as a teenager reminds him of his connection to this wild place. As he trusts the River to lead him forward, Gabriel’s life flourishes into more than he dreamed it could be while in Kansas. Neale evokes a relationship between his protagonist and nature as real as any Gabriel has with the people around him as he learns that by trusting the River to guide him, he will end up where he is meant to be. The River is not without its rough patches, enabling Neale to illustrate how it is in the toughest situations that we find our way. --Carolyn Richard

Review

The River is a story that will transform how you see yourself and the world.”
— Andy Andrews, New York Times best-selling author of The Noticer, The Traveler’s Gift, and How Do You Kill 11 Million People?


"The story begins with a terrifying episode that 5-year-old Gabriel and his father experience above a spectacular waterfall in Firewater Gorge. When Gabriel is a young man, the traumatic event mysteriously draws him back to the river with a seemingly supernatural force. Michael Neale’s skillful portrayal captures Gabriel as a delightful, excited child and again as a questioning young man in search of himself and the father he loved; Neale also delivers the terror in between. His characterization of Gabriel’s growth to maturity sounds authentic. Music breaks, background music, and sounds of cascading waters add realism. Michael Neale is a talented author who narrates his own work with skill and empathy." 
G.D.W. © AudioFile Portland, Maine
--This text refers to the Audio CD edition.

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Customer Reviews

It's not a bad book.
M. Carswell
This book teaches us, healing, the purpose of life and it teaches more about the power of forgiveness.
N. Payne
It is one of those books that you are sad about when it ends, you just want to have it keep going.
B. Wooton

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By like2read on September 18, 2012
Format: Paperback
You can read (too much) of the plot elsewhere. This wonderful, inspiring story drew me in and grabbed my soul. I laughed and cried over it. I'll read it again, and recommend it to anyone looking for good, clean inspiring fiction.

The setting of mountain streams and forests comes alive with emotions of both guilt and searching for the truth of the past. You can hear the ripples of the water rushing past, with the introduction to the magic of the river intertwined with the beauty around it. From the anger of being left behind, to the guilt of being the one who survived. You'll be drawn into the quest to understand the lives connected on the river.

Read this book! It will be time well spent. How many times can you say that?
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Holly Weiss VINE VOICE on September 7, 2012
Format: Paperback
Life can be as tumultuous as river rapids with jagged rocks.
Life can be as lonely as a dirty swamp no one visits.
Life can be as loving as a pool that gratefully accepts your fishing lure.
Life can be as gentle as a flowing stream that carries us to healing waters.

The River, debut novel by Michael Neale is all of this. Climb into your canoe and dip your paddle into the spell this book will cast over you.

Adventuresome five-year-old Gabriel Clarke loves the Colorado River until he watches his father die while trying to save someone in a kayak. Traumatized, Gabriel withdraws into his own private grief. He moves away to live with his mother in Kansas. Years pass as he deals with the scars and pain of his father's death and lonely adolescence. Will he return to the river to find some resolution?

Descriptions in the book are mystical and magical. The words Gabriel's father and grandfather wrote in their journal are poignant revelations of their feelings for The River (always capitalized in the book). Marbles Gabriel buys at a fair are described as having The River within them. Parallels between The River and God are drawn with beautiful descriptive metaphors. The reader is challenged to leave the safety of what is familiar to find the rapids of what heals.

Sometimes simplicity has the greatest impact.

The author says "The story I'm about to tell you is inspired by a collage of...happenings in my life...I believe you'll find some of your story here as well." As so often happens, one person's story helps us understand our own. To our benefit, Mr. Neale isn't afraid to bare his soul in his writing. This reviewer will watch expectantly for his next novel. Full of marvels, The Riverby Michael Neale will help you examine places in need of healing within your own heart.

Netgalley provided a digital advance review copy for my unbiased opinion.
Reviewed by Holly Weiss, author of Crestmont.
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11 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Christian writer on September 17, 2012
Format: Paperback
A Book Review: The River

Gabriel was three years old when he witnessed his father's death. His father was trying to save an inexperienced kayaker on the river.

The story flashes forward to Gabriel at age five, now living with his mother Maggie in Kansas. The small, sleepy town of Cairo is where he grew up, troubled by the demons of his memories. He was terrified to play at the pond with the boys his age.

Different people in his life helped him work through his issues on a somewhat moderate level. Mister Earl and Miss Vonda, from whom his mother Maggie rented their room through the years, were good to them. Mister Earl, his only father figure, took him fishing, which became another victory in his fear of The River.

A new schoolteacher was a positive influence in his life. Her Indian name was Great River. She painted him a picture of the river where she grew up, and wrote him a note that was signed, "Great River loves you."

After high school, Gabriel worked on Mister Earl's farm and at the Five and Dime in town. He felt restless, as if he had not found his niche, as if there were something more for which he was made.

A high school friend invited him with other friends to Colorado for a vacation on The River. It was the same River where his father had died. He did not want his friends to know his past. His insecurities abounded, but a girl named Tabitha pursued his friendship, and invited him to return for the summer to Great River Adventures, a river rafting business provided guided tours of the rapids.

Throughout his time in Colorado, a white hawk showed up repeatedly. Gabriel believed this was his father watching over him.

Gabriel did return.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Teacher Reader on September 21, 2012
Format: Paperback
From the publisher: Gabriel Clarke is mysteriously drawn to The River, a ribbon of frothy white water carving its way through steep canyons high in the Colorado Rockies. The rushing waters beckon him to experience freedom and adventure.
But something holds him back--the memory of the terrible event he witnessed on The River when he was just five years old--something no child should ever see.
Chains of fear and resentment imprison Gabriel, keeping him from discovering the treasures of The River. He remains trapped, afraid to take hold of the life awaiting him.
When he returns to The River after years away, his heart knows he is finally home. His destiny is within reach. Claiming that destiny will be the hardest--and bravest--thing he has ever done.

I have to say that this book lacked depth in many ways. I was not drawn to any of the characters, least of all the main character Gabriel. A book can be not very deep, but at least entertaining and engaging. This book was neither deep, nor entertaining, nor engaging. This book was choppy and caused me to not really didn't care if Gabriel conquered his fears or got a better life because he was written in a very flat way. When reading it I felt like I was reading middle/high school writing craft.

Spiritually there was more mysticism/animism/etc. than Christianity. There is a hawk that appears to comfort Gabriel, and the River talks to him, an important teacher of his is named after the river, and a special dog helps him at the river. There could have been many chances to show that God is the One who heals our deepest grief, but instead it was this magical river.

The story line had potential but it was not carried out well. I cannot recommend this book.

I received this book from Booksneeze for my honest review.
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