Safety Month BOTMKT Amazon Fashion Learn more nav_sap_plcc_ascpsc $5 Albums Explore Premium Audio Fire TV Stick Patriotic Picks STEM Amazon Cash Back Offer AnnedroidsS3 AnnedroidsS3 AnnedroidsS3  Amazon Echo  Echo Dot  Amazon Tap  Echo Dot  Amazon Tap  Amazon Echo Introducing new colors All-New Kindle Oasis UniOrlando Best Camping & Hiking Gear in Outdoors STEM
Customer Review

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Faith and Justice, December 17, 2008
This review is from: Peace Like a River (Paperback)
I think when you read Peace Like a River, you have to do so with a certain grain of salt. There are many things that don't add up, a few head scratching moments, but ultimately the journey is one of faith for the Land family, especially young Reuben, who has more than one experience with faith. There are some irritations along the way. (I, like many, found Swede's character to be a bit perplexing and far-fetched. After all, there aren't many nine years old that can spout out poetry right and left, reference specific historical moments, and cook an entire turkey dinner by themselves). However, all in all it was a worthy novel, and merits some praise. There is a certain amount of symbolism revealed throughout in the family's journey west, and the spirituality of the book creates a "feel good" effect, even if some deem it "sugary sweet."

Obviously miracles and faith play a huge role in the novel, and carry the story from beginning to end. Reuben's entrance in the world involves a miracle in which his father intervenes and helps him breathe and survive. Narrating this event at the book's outset, Reuben reflects on the spiritual significance: "I believe I was preserved through those twelve airless minutes, in order to be a witness, and as a witness, let me say that a miracle is no cute thing but the swing of a sword." Reuben, years later, knows that this event was part of a larger picture that he attributes to fate, and no small feat. The first of several miracles from Jeremiah Land gives credence to the presence of hope in the novel, and perhaps this first one helps to give Reuben a grander idea of life, a deeper appreciation for all the little things that make up family and perseverance, especially as the family heads out in search of Davey.

An appreciation I had while reading was just the amount of passion Lief Enger puts in his novel. While some may criticize his rather verbose and detailed passages (and with good reason), he certainly puts forth much energy in establishing who these characters are: their faults, their strengths, what makes them tick. We know, for instance, that Jeremiah is a very spiritual man, self-sacrificing family man who first relies on faith. Reuben's views of the world are constantly changing and resurfacing, and he clearly shows his philosophical side in his narration; we understand why he has many conflicts over brother Davey, such as whether it is moral or not to help someone who's on the run. Part of Reuben's conscience is to "do the right thing", and he continually questions himself about the morality of life.

Another intriguing aspect of the novel is the theme of justice. When Reuben's older brother Davy kills the two young troublemakers who break into their home, many must decide whether Davy acted in self-defense or whether he is a cold-blooded murderer. Acting as a vigilante, Davy is charged with murder, but finds a way to escape prison. Because the family is having a difficult time living in town after the trial, they decide to head out west to try to see if they can't find Davy and escape the circus that is building around them. This gives Reuben time to cope and try to figure out if what Davy did was justified. (However, I personally felt Davy was as unsympathetic character as there could be in the book).

The ending, which involves another miracle, is one which has garnered some praise and criticism. I think if you take in some of the events with a certain amount of symbolism in mind, the novel will make much more sense in the grand scheme of things. I felt like I could believe the ending, because we learn early on that miracles are important to the story. Over all, there are a few blotches, like the lack of editing at certain points, but this is a novel which is certainly deserving of the praise its received.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No

Be the first person to comment on this review.

[Add comment]
Post a comment
To insert a product link use the format: [[ASIN:ASIN product-title]] (What's this?)
Amazon will display this name with all your submissions, including reviews and discussion posts. (Learn more)
Name:
Badge:
This badge will be assigned to you and will appear along with your name.
There was an error. Please try again.
Please see the full guidelines here.

Official Comment

As a representative of this product you can post one Official Comment on this review. It will appear immediately below the review wherever it is displayed.   Learn more
The following name and badge will be shown with this comment:
 (edit name)
After clicking the Post button you will be asked to create your public name, which will be shown with all your contributions.

Is this your product?

If you are the author, artist, manufacturer or an official representative of this product, you can post an Official Comment on this review. It will appear immediately below the review wherever it is displayed.  Learn more
Otherwise, you can still post a regular comment on this review.

Is this your product?

If you are the author, artist, manufacturer or an official representative of this product, you can post an Official Comment on this review. It will appear immediately below the review wherever it is displayed.   Learn more
 
System timed out

We were unable to verify whether you represent the product. Please try again later, or retry now. Otherwise you can post a regular comment.

Since you previously posted an Official Comment, this comment will appear in the comment section below. You also have the option to edit your Official Comment.   Learn more
The maximum number of Official Comments have been posted. This comment will appear in the comment section below.   Learn more
Prompts for sign-in
  [Cancel]


Review Details

Item

Reviewer

fra7299
(VINE VOICE)   

Location: California, United States

Top Reviewer Ranking: 16,572