- Paperback: 320 pages
- Publisher: Atlantic Monthly Press; Reprint edition (August 20, 2002)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0802139256
- ISBN-13: 978-0802139252
- Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.8 x 8.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 968 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #8,777 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Peace Like a River Paperback – August 20, 2002
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I feel the starting point for my review should be religion, since I do not - adamantly do not - subscribe to or believe in any god or religion; yet religious acts and circumstances provide much of the core of this novel. Normally, if I had read the back cover of this book in a store I would have placed it back on the shelf just as quickly as I'd brought it to my hand. Thankfully, this situation was different because my wife had recommended this book, and I know no person who's judgment I could ever trust more.
As a result I had the opportunity to meet Swede; a child I would put right up there with Harper Lee's Scout - which is saying a lot. Even better, I had the opportunity to experience a new story as delivered by a gifted teller. As of today I've already ordered his other book and can't wait to dive in when it arrives.
Read this book. It will gain permanent member status in your library.
You'll read it again.
I loved every single thing about this book, even the moments when Enger broke my heart - even the ending that undoubtedly will upset some readers. I loved Reuben and his physical delicacy and emotional strength. I loved Swede's dark humor and imagination. Not many nine-year-olds can write a complete sentence, much less epic poetry. I loved Jeremiah, a man who loved his children unconditionally in a way that makes me feel so inferior as a parent. I loved Andreeson, who isn't as bad as Swede wants him to be. Roxanna? I want to be her. I can't say I loved Jape, although I appreciate the character he is. And Davy. I did love Davy, despite his selfishness and occasional cruelty.
The symbolism - whether scenic or the characters' names - is beautiful. This book would be an amazing book club selection. In fact, I used grant money to purchase a class set for my high school students, and they loved it, too.
Lyrical. Simply lyrical. And also unforgettable.
So, you can see I'm pretty picky! This book met all my criteria. The one character that feels too saintly to be real is the narrator's father, but he's seen through the eyes of an 11-year old boy, in the more innocent early 1960's, so that makes perfect sense. (And more so, in light of the ending.)
I appreciate how hard it must be to write an ending that the reader doesn't see coming, and that is neither too neat and happy, nor so shocking that it feels like a cheap shot. Again, this story delivers. I was truly surprised by several twists at the end, saddened by some of them and satisfied by others.
The author also accomplishes a rare feat: writing about faith in a way that makes room for doubt, without judging those characters for whom doubt wins out.
I look forward to reading more from Leif Enger.
Recommend this to middle school English teachers trying to instill a love of reading and teach imaginative writing of both prose and poetry.
Most recent customer reviews
couldn't get into it
but one I couldnt relate to and didnt enjoy