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"Peace Like a River" by Leif Enger

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With many books, you can proceed with the sensation that the plot is interesting, or the theme a worthy one, or there is a new slant on something, but often with wonderful thoughts like these, we get workmanlike prose, or something basic and serviceable. But in "Peace Like a River" not only is the plot interesting and clearly unfolding, the words along the way hold such enchantment and fun that it has an effect, where one wants to keep turning the pages and finding the next delight.
This piece is told mainly from the viewpoint of an 11 year-old boy. This boy has a very devout father, who is literally capable of miracles. After a full novel of suffering from asthma, 11 year-old Reuben is shot, and by all rights should die, but his father, also shot, but not critically wounded, performs his last miracle by giving Reuben his healthy lungs so he can live.

The prose serving this lovely tale is charming, flowing, witty, and knowing throughout. It takes us on an unusual journey (plot-wise and idea-wise), and at the end we're given a glimpse of heaven: brightly lit, humming with life, where a river flows uphill. Reuben sees his father, who takes his place in the peace that is like a river.

This isn't really a coming of age. Rube experiences some awfully weighty things for a sixth-grader, witnessing miracles and seeing his fugitive brother, and sitting by, awe-struck and envious, as his little sister composes remarkable verse. This is an extremely enjoyable book, kindly, wise, and a little fantastic. Time quite certainly well spent. Don't pass it by, by any means!
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