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Ricochet River Paperback – April 1, 2005

4.5 out of 5 stars 32 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

In late adolescence, after teens finally learn to surf their raging hormones, questions about boxes begin to arise. Everything becomes a box: schools, families, even hometowns start to pinch and confine after a while; the restless teen spirit wants to break free from expectations and humdrum rhythms. In a small Oregon logging town in the '60s, Wade and Lorna are beginning to feel the pinch, even more confusing because Calamus is home, too. The Calamus River rushes through town, inspiring them with its freedom and strength. What would happen if they broke free and allowed their own surging currents to take them to another place? Lessons come through a transforming friendship with another teen--a Native American named Jesse, who knows a lot about the river and his own restless spirit. This is a magnificent, deeply felt novel about coming of age and finding a place in the world. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Kirkus Reviews

Love it or leave it: the old dilemma of the American teenager vis-…-vis his hometown is explored again in this coming-of-age novel. The time is 1960, and the place is Calamus, a small logging town in Oregon. For our narrator, high-school senior Wade Curren, there is no problem: his is a snug fit. His family is descended from the original loggers; father Duncan, an ex-logger, now works for the utility company in Portland. Wade himself is a good student and a better athlete, a nice-guy jock; but his girlfriend Lorna has a much less rosy view of their town, seeing it as a ``vicious'' place that boxes and labels everybody. ``The trouble with you,'' she complains to Wade, ``is you want to be packaged.'' A third attitude is embodied in newcomer Jesse Howl. Jesse is an Indian, displaced from his village when the government flooded it for a dam. He makes an immediate impact on Calamus with his baseball and football skills: the games and the town itself become, so Jesse thinks, ``a big party in [his] honor.'' The party's over, though, when the reckless Jesse, in a cockamamie attempt to help some salmon, dynamites the spillway and is sent to a ``school and work farm for hoods.'' That's about the biggest event in this amiable but sluggish first novel, which instead of a plot provides river- journeys and a superabundance of salmon lore. The reader is primed for a showdown between Jesse and the townsfolk that never comes; instead, there is a fatal accident for Jesse and a downriver escape for Wade and Lorna. That ending is a mess--a false note in newcomer Cody's otherwise authentic work: pleasant but unmemorable. -- Copyright ©1992, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Ooligan Press; 1 edition (April 1, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1932010041
  • ISBN-13: 978-1932010046
  • Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 0.7 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (32 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #935,877 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
On the scale of 1-10, 10 being the highest, I'd rate "Ricochet River" by Robin Cody as an 11. I think it is now my favorite book. Yes, I know that is a high rating, but I'm thoroughly convinced that this book deserves it. Cody's writing style, to me, is as powerful as the river he often refers to in the book; yet it flows so easily, like a conversation with grandpa on the front porch. "Ricochet River" is also a very meaningful book to me because the story takes place near my home, and near the great Columbia River that has carved so much history into this land. It is set in the 1960s in a small Oregon logging town called Calamus, just southeast of Portland. Wade is a highschool student from Calamus who narates the story. He effortlessly pieces together the story of Jesse, an Indian kid who moved to Calamus. Jesse's presence in the small logging town brought out a kind of prejudice among the townspeople. This is an historical circumstance that is not often talked about in American history, and it was very intriguing to see how Jesse dealt with it. Jesse is a natural athlete who applies his own rules to sports and life. At first, Jesse is a star in the town because of his athletic skill; until the narrowmindedness sets it. In a way, Cody's way of writing made me feel angry at the townspeople for their pre-judgement. Together Jesse and Wade venture through life's trials in the small town. Jesse brings to Wade's general interest the cultural background of his tribe through many meaningful stories. "Ricochet River" is rich in real life situations, making it easy to relate to and comprehend. I loved this book for the way that it talked about the Northwest salmon runs, and their life in which we have endangered.Read more ›
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Format: Paperback
Robin Cody's award-winning RICOCHET RIVER is available in a new and improved 2005 edition. The author chose to revise his manuscript for high-school audiences, with the help of the editing students at Portland State University's student-run Ooligan Press. Re-reading his work after fourteen years, he found he could make distinct improvements. His legendary coming-of-age story, originally published as an adult novel by Knopf, is now stronger and more vivid than ever. Every parent of a high-school student should find it wonderfully appropriate reading. Anyone of any age who lives in the Pacific Northwest will benefit from reading this book. Place is a major character, and the story is tremendously enriching. I wish I'd read it when I moved to Oregon thirty-five years ago, and I've hastened to order copies for my born-in-Oregon children.
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Format: Paperback
From a small town in Oregon to the big time. Robin Cody portrays the life, dreams, and hardships of teens in the confines of the small town of Calamus, Oregon. With supporting players like Link and Duncun, Jesse, Wade and Lorna find their way through Calamus and in to a life of their own. Jesse represents the 'trouble' of Calamus, like the weed that you can never get rid of in your flower garden. Wade is the backbone of the barbershop and Calamus, he reminds us of the rain that kept Jesse growing. Although, when it rains too much Jesse finds himself in more trouble, I think, than he anticipates. Lorna, on the other hand, finds herself stuck in the middle of these two worlds. She competes for time, to be with Wade, with the infamous Jesse. Trying to break free of Calamus, Wade, Jesse and Lorna find themselves in deeper restriction than they expected. All in different ways, however. Wade receives a acceptance letter to a prestigious college on the East side, more than two thousand miles away. Lorna, sacred and insecure, frets for acceptances to colleges close to Wade's so she wont be alone, what I think she fears the most. Jesse, brave and boisterous, wanting to conquer the world, one city at a time. Calamus, small as it may be, fought back with everything in its will to resist the changing of time and the thoughts and actions of Jesse. Unfortunately, Calamus caught up with Jesse and brought him down off of the high horse he so promptly placed himself up on. Jesse, competing for glory brought himself to a faithful ending. Maybe it's better this way, maybe not. Life is like the River, ricocheting back and forth.
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Format: Paperback
Well if this doesn't explain what life is like for a teenager, then I don't think anything does. Whether you live in the Northwest or the Southeast, every teen at one point in their life has dealt with problems that Jesse and Wade deal with. This book understood me better than anyone I've met so far. It wasn't even an adventure book, a thriller, an action; it was a drama - plain and simple. And that's why I liked it. It said things straight, the way things should be said. One scene that sticks in my mind is when Jesse and Wade take Judith and Rhonda to the movies. I laugh just remembering it because the scene was so real. I can remember dates that I've been on and know exactly how these characters feel. But the thing I enjoyed most was the familiarity I felt for the surroundings described in the book. At one point in the book, Wade, Lorna, and Jesse are driving in Portland down Mcgloughlin Blvd.; I can remember going to Portland with my friends, driving down Mchloughlin Blvd. Jesse and Wade are just like every Tom, Dick, and Harry. I mean, they hang out together, talk about girls, talk about their future; just normal teenagers living their lives. In my opinion, the author never gets preachy about the meaning of life, he just leads the reader to believe that life is like a river, twisting and turning, never knowing what rocks you're going to have to go through. And at the end, when Wade and Lorna are cruising the river, it emphasizes what everyone does; they all play the game of life, trying to beat the odds, but in the end, it's the river that's still running.
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