Last week I reviewed a very female-centric book, so it seems only fair that this week I highlight a very male-centric one. Peter Heller‘s The River is an adventure story that exudes a vibrant masculine energy. Our two strong, young heroes who are on a kayaking trip in a remote area are forced to flee a raging forest fire while trying to rescue a damsel in distress and figure out if the few other men who are in the area are good people who can help them or bad people who will do them harm.
It’s that last question that makes this book so compelling, the battle between optimism and cynicism as personified by the two protagonists, best friends, Wynn and Jack. We’re forced to consider, does having faith in ones fellow man makes you good or a victim. Does universal distrust makes you a survivor or the exact kind of villain you fear.
The pacing of this book is perfection, slowing at time to build an ominous sense of dread, then racing during the action scenes until you think your heart might explode. There wasn’t a character in this thing that in any way shape or form reminded me of myself and so it’s really to the author’s credit that I came to fully understand and appreciate their motivations and feel for them. It was a privilege to be able to enter into the minds and psyche of people so very different than myself.
I strongly recommend this book for my adventure-loving readers who are looking for a thought provoking ride.