The Banks Of Certain Rivers

The Banks Of Certain Rivers by Jon Harrison - 331 pages
Book Blurb:
Neil Kazenzakis is barely holding his life together: ever since an accident left his wife profoundly disabled, he's been doing his best as a single dad and popular high school teacher. He's also been dealing with Lauren Downey, his sort-of girlfriend of the past two years who's pushing for a commitment—and for Neil to finally tell his son Christopher about their secret relationship.
Neil's carefully balanced world begins to fall apart when some questionable footage of him is anonymously posted to YouTube...just as Chris learns about Lauren in the worst possible way. Doubting his own recollection of the events in the online video and threatened with the loss of his job and the ability to care for his wife, Neil must find a way to prove the truth to his family, his community, and himself as he struggles to regain the splintered trust of his son.
Heartbreaking, poignant, and written with devastating humor and warmth, The Banks of Certain Rivers is a shattering story of memory, loss, and just how far a man will go to show the people closest to him the meaning of love.
My Review: 4 stars
This book was a winner. This gifted writer took a chunk of real life and put it to the page. Really, if you asked me what it was about, I’d say it was about people, choices, fate and love while covering a tough subject matter. I’ve read often about widows and widowers as well as people who are disabled, but this book tied them both together in a horrifically sad knot. This book reminds us that our kids can be awesome yet equally stupid at times. As a parent, friend, or spouse we can be wonderful, yet easily make bad choices and/or decisions. These characters all felt so real to me perhaps because they were so flawed. I had one issue that I think was missed...I questioned why there wasn’t a heap of money from a settlement nor any mention of blame to the hotel after the wife’s accident. In contrast, I loved the emails that go to no one that acted like a diary. This is a beautiful story.
Quotes I liked:
-“...the boys stopped being friends and we stopped seeing each other. Things change like that. Especially when you have kids. You don’t really mourn the difference, you just accept that things have changed and move on.”

- “How do you tell someone what you’re feeling, how do you explain to him that sometimes “No” has a place in the bigger picture, that “No” has a place in the greater compartments of your heart?”

- “...and the weight of his absence is oppressive.”

-“ There are things we make ourselves forget. What is a memory, anyway? Is it an indelible record, unimpeachable, frozen in some synaptic arrangement and stored away for some moment it might be needed in the future? Or is it subject to editing and revision, something plastic that our brains can shape into another form we can handle, something less toxic than the original, something less able to poison us?”

- “Are we alive because we remember things, or because we can forget?”

Tags: 2013, Fiction,

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