I have been mulling over how to review The River by Michael Neale. Let me first say, I am not a huge reader of inspirational or life transforming books. I am more likely to read a book that highlights the underbelly of society. I glazed over the synopsis for this book and it sounded interesting, like maybe it could go either way. It definitely turned out to be one of those stories that aspires to be inspirational and life transforming. In fact, if I had taken the time to research the Michael Neale, I would have been more attuned to the type of books that he has written and not surprised by the flow of this book. I did look him up after reading the book and found that all of his other books are self-help books, so this, even though it is fiction, fits his profile.
That said, I liked the story. I thought that the author did a reasonably good job of fleshing out both the story line and the characters in the story. My favorite part of the book was the part where Gabriel was living in Kansas with his mother, and my favorite character was probably Mister Earl. One of the things that I particularly liked is the way that the characters all connected in some way, although by the end of the book I was almost expecting them to have some connection. In that, I wasn't disappointed as the relationships developed exactly the way I thought they would. Another thing I liked about this book was the descriptive writing that the book contained. All in all, though, this book was just a little too much of a mystical, life affirming trip for me. In addition, the use of The River as a metaphor was just a little too transparent. But, as I said, this is not my usual type of read. I have to say, though, after all that, did enjoy the story. And if that is your type of book, this one is well written and would not disappoint.
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