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Once Upon A River

A Novel

Campbell, Bonnie Jo

(Book - 2011)
Average Rating: 4 stars out of 5.
Once Upon A River
Print
Bonnie Jo Campbell has created an unforgettable heroine in sixteen-year-old Margo Crane, a beauty whose unflinching gaze and uncanny ability with a rifle have not made her life any easier. After the violent death of her father, in which she is complicit, Margo takes to the Stark River in her boat, with only a few supplies and a biography of Annie Oakley, in search of her vanished mother. But the river, Margo's childhood paradise, is a dangerous place for a young woman traveling alone, and she must be strong to survive, using her knowledge of the natural world and her ability to look unsparingly into the hearts of those around her. Her river odyssey through rural Michigan becomes a defining journey, one that leads her beyond self-preservation and to the decision of what price she is willing to pay for her choices.
Publisher: New York : W. W. Norton & Co., c2011
Edition: 1st ed
ISBN: 0393079899
9780393079890
Branch Call Number: FICTION CAMPBELL 2011
Characteristics: 348 p. :,map ;,25 cm

Opinion

From Library Staff

After a tragedy, a young girl winds up on her own along an Ohio river, with nothing but her boat and her gun. This can be harrowing, but Campbell is such a good writer, especially when it comes to portraying wildlife.

Margo Crane, a beauty whose unflinching gaze and uncanny ability with a rifle has not made her easy. After the violent death of her father, in which she is complicit, Margo takes to the Stark River in her boat, with only a few supplies and a biography of Annie Oakley, in search of her vanished mo... Read More »

Sixteen-year-old Margo Crane is a beauty whose unflinching gaze and uncanny ability with a rifle have not made her life any easier. After the violent death of her father, in which she is complicit, Margo takes to the Stark River in her boat, with only a few supplies and a biography of Annie Oakle... Read More »

After a tragedy, a young girl winds up on her own along an Ohio river, with nothing but her boat and her gun. This can be harrowing, but Campbell is such a good writer, especially when it comes to portraying wildlife.

Margo Crane is a beauty whose unflinching gaze and uncanny ability with a rifle have not made her life any easier. After the violent death of her father, in which she is complicit, Margo takes to the Stark River in her boat, with only a few supplies and a biography of Annie Oakley, in search of h... Read More »


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Mar 05, 2013
  • DeltaQueen50 rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

A strange and compelling read, I never warmed to Margo or any of the characters, except the dogs, yet I was fascinated and could not stop turning the pages. Beautifully written the words flow very much like the river, lyrical, almost poetic is scope, yet at times both cold and unemotional. With such complex and deep themes, Once Upon A River is a book that I know I will be mulling over for some time and Bonnie Jo Campbell is an author that I will not hesitate to revisit.

Jun 16, 2012
  • dmissak rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

Young girl with a shotgun. What's not to like?

Apr 13, 2012
  • axeman rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

A compelling story of a teeange girl who is forced to make her own way in the world. Margo is a complex character and the book deals with many issues. Not a light hearted book but very worthy of reading.

Jan 10, 2012
  • ownedbydoxies rated this: 2.5 stars out of 5.

At first, I kind of enjoyed the book, but I'm getting really tired of her skinning fish alive (because she thinks they don't feel pain - what?! are you serious?), shooting deer after deer, and dealing with revenge issues. And, honestly, I'm so tired of the whole gun culture this girl lives in. Although she's presented as quiet, but 'smart', she seems almost cartoonishly stupid in many ways, as well as amoral and oddly emotionless. Ultimately, I'm bored with how she goes from man to man, gets raped, doesn't seem to respond to the rapes, etc. The idea that she was raped by a beloved uncle, but had to take a year to decide how she 'feels' about it, just seemed ridiculous to me. Meh. I didn't finish the book.

Dec 20, 2011
  • halgeon rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

Very richly-told, evocative story.

Like other readers who have commented, I didn't feel a strong connection to Margo, but that didn't make the book any less enjoyable, somehow. I think it's because although I could not relate to how Margo lived and the choices she made, I can see that such a young woman may exist out there somewhere, who makes just these choices.

Dec 06, 2011
  • missmarcy rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

haunting....primal.....

Nov 28, 2011
  • MsLit rated this: 3.5 stars out of 5.

This book was a haunting beautiful read. A great story about an independent girl falling through life. As she leaps from man to man she begins to slowly understanding who she wants to be. The storyline flows like a river and was a very satisfying read.

Nov 11, 2011
  • BlueMoonGirl rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

I believe the river was the main character, all others, just players in this story. Beautifully written tale. Campbell has a wonderful gift of using words to paint a picture. I enjoyed this immensely.

Nov 02, 2011
  • gracindaisy rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

A young girl survives alone in the countryside, making a life for herself living on a river Michigan. The author creates a marvelous sense of place and carves out a memorable character.

Aug 15, 2011
  • redwallflower rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

I really enjoyed reading this book, even though I felt no direct connection to Margo or any other character in the story. That said, I did like the connections between Margo and the various characters in the story, especially those who made up her surrogate family.

i would recommend this to anyone looking for a great read.

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