Tuesday, August 28, 2012

The River by Michael Neale



The book's description from the publisher's website:

“You were made for The River . . .”

Gabriel Clarke is mysteriously drawn to The River, a ribbon of frothy white water carving its way through steep canyons high in the Colorado Rockies. The rushing waters beckon him to experience freedom and adventure.
But something holds him back—the memory of the terrible event he witnessed on The River when he was just five years old—something no child should ever see.
Chains of fear and resentment imprison Gabriel, keeping him from discovering the treasures of The River. He remains trapped, afraid to take hold of the life awaiting him.
When he returns to The River after years away, his heart knows he is finally home. His destiny is within reach. Claiming that destiny will be the hardest—and bravest—thing he has ever done.
One of the most frustrating books I've read. The most frustrating spiritual book I've read.There really isn't much to say, because unfortunately there wasn't much to this book.

My expectations were much higher than what I found in The River. They were based on what others were saying about it.

 Michael Neale writes an amazing story that—I believe—will change lives.

The inspirational read encourages readers to evaluate themselves, their motives and the toxic issue of forgiveness in a fascinating story of daring adventure, letting go of the past and finding courage to step into the future.

 I think everyone can relate to the protagonist's experience of having to let go of the pain from his past in order to embrace the future for which he's destined. *

I'm looking for a better direction in my life. I have been a seeker for a very long time, for complicated reasons. I thought Neale's book could help me be inspired, if nothing else. As it is, The River is changing no one's life any time soon.

I may be a skeptic and need some convincing but who are such books written for, if not for people like me. If your intended audience is that which already agrees with what you preach, then there's no justifiable reason to not market your book as such.

Frankly, I can't imagine who will read The River and find it exceptional, with a powerful message and a potential to change lives. There was nothing revelatory in this book. The message of the value of forgiveness is rather simplistic and frankly, insulting, especially to those readers who need true inspiration and know that real life rarely serves such easy solutions as the author would have us believe. Also, contrary to what is said by the endorsers, Michael Neale is not a very gifted storyteller, at least where the written word is concerned (people stating that may be intellectually dishonest or just plain dishonest, I'm not sure which one is worse).

If I seem a little harsh, it's because I care about spirituality and inspiration, and I especially want to find them in Christian writings. Unfortunately, more and more often these books are written in a style of an 8th-grade essay, as if Christians couldn't possibly comprehend anything more complex. The River is no exception. It made me angry. I wanted to write a lot worse opinion on this book when I first finished it. I doubt I'll harm the sales any, though. I already have a feeling it will be the next The Shack, regardless of what this reader's inconsequential opinion is.

* The quotes are from several Goodreads reviews.

FTC: I received The River from NetGalley for review.