Book Review: The River by Michael Neale

The River is where it all begins. Gabriel Clarke witnesses a terrible event at The River in the Colorado Rockies when he is 5 years old. It was an event that rocks his world and changes his life forever. Soon afterwards, Gabriel moves from The River to Kansas. While he is surrounded by people who love him there, he is also full of fear and resentment related to that terrible event and he struggles to "do life."

Then one day a friend offers Gabriel an opportunity to return to The River in Colorado. After some initial hesitation, he takes it and steps away from his life in Kansas to have this adventure. After all of the years away, something comes alive again within Gabriel at The River. More importantly, he is finally able to release his fears and anger to claim his true destiny--a wonderful, adventurous destiny that he was created for.

I read this book in one day. It is easy reading prose. . .but that doesn't mean there aren't deep truths to ponder within the pages. As someone who has struggled at times with fear and my own destiny, there was much to contemplate and ponder after reading this story. I think it will be one I will be thinking on for days to come. For me, this is one of the marks of a truly good story and I highly recommend it.

My tweenage son struggles with fear at times too. Because we homeschool, I have think that The River would be a great tool to read and discuss with him. This book has some good questions to think about in the Reading Group Guide in the back, either on your own, or for those with book clubs too. Following that guide, there are a few pages of an interview by Andy Andrews with the author that also sheds further light on this story and what he hopes you will take away from it. For me, that interview enhanced the story, knowing where it came from and what he hoped to accomplish.

I received this book from Thomas Nelson through their Booksneeze program. I was not required to write a positive review.


  1. I also read and enjoyed The River. It's really a book about trusting God, letting go of past hurts so that you can move forward in life. It's an inspiring story about the possibilities that unfold when you are willing to take a risk. Life with God is meant to be an adventure--this book reminded me of that truth! Great review.


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