Bethany reviews ‘Into This River I Drown’ by TJ Klune. Published by DSP on March 24th 2014. 258 pgs
Why I read this book: I am a huge TJ Klune fan and even though I have been putting this one off I thought it was time to buckle down and read it.
Five years ago, Benji Green lost his beloved father, Big Eddie, when his truck crashed into a river. Everyone called it an accident, but Benji knows it was more. Even years later, he’s buried in his grief, throwing himself into managing Big Eddie’s convenience store in the small-town of Roseland, Oregon. Surrounded by his mother and three aunts, he lives day to day, struggling to keep his head above water.
But Roseland is no ordinary place.
With ever more frequent dreams of his father’s death and waking visions of feathers on the river’s surface, Benji finds his definition of reality bending. He thinks himself haunted; by ghosts or memories, he can no longer tell. Not until a man falls from the sky, leaving the burning imprint of wings on the ground, does Benji begin to understand that the world is more mysterious than he ever imagined—and more dangerous. As uncontrollable forces descend on Roseland, they reveal long-hidden truths about friends, family, and the stranger Calliel—a man Benji can no longer live without.
I have been putting this book off for a while now, and let me tell you why I am now kicking myself for waiting so long.
I read the blurb and though it would be a book about religion, angels and such. And since I am a religious person, I though it would be one I couldn’t get through. And I hated that thought cause I LOVE T.J.’s books. And again I am glad this was the first book of the new year. And here is why. I just hope I can do it justice.
Plain and simple this is NOT a book about religion, though I can see how some might see it that way. No, this is purely a love story. A heartbreaking, devastating, beautiful love story about a boy and his dad. And a love story about a boy and the man who gave up everything to be with him, and the boy who would endure yet another devastating, crippling heartbreak to save the man he loved. It is flawlessly written, but then I expect nothing less from his books. Its nothing like ‘Tell Me It’s Real’, yet there were moments I chuckled. It not like ‘Bear Otter and the Kid’ or ‘Who We Are’, though they did have somber moments.
This was on an entirely different playing field. There were times in this book I had to stop mid-sentence and walk away so I could control the sobbing. And when I had finally composed myself, only then could I pick it back up. Its long, it took me three and a half days. Granted I only read it when the kids where in bed for the night cause I felt it needed my undivided attention. It DEMANDS your undivided attention. It is not for the faint of heart. Elements in this book, i.e. Michael, raise it to another level making you think, making you question, and demanding you stop and wonder. It makes you hurt, and it drags you through the mud. While it does not make it ALL better for you, it puts a Band-Aid on your heart and lets you begin the healing process.
I understand it is written for his late father, and being a daddy’s girl myself I can not fathom losing the one man I have loved my entire life. So I can only imagine the pain he went through writing this, but you can feel the love. The love of a child for one’s father (or mother), the love of a father (or mother) for one’s child. You see the healing, the grieving, and seeing the light at the end of the tunnel for all those involved.
So again I was thrilled when I finished because this is truly a phenomenal book. One that I will be re-reading many times to come. So while I do not believe this review does the book the justice it deserves, it is one I will highly recommend.