|Once Upon a River|
"Margaret Louise "Margo" Crane is just like any other teenage girl in small town Michigan. Truly. She lives on a river with her father (and her mother until her mother left) surrounded by nature and several branches of her tangled family tree. Her grandfather, Old Man Murray, favors her above his plethora of grandsons because she can sit quietly for hours in a fishing boat. To be frank, Margo speaks as much as a doe does. Out of season.
Her paradise is much murkier than she knows though. Shortly after her grandfather dies, she is raped by her uncle; and the series of repercussions leads her to the Stark River--her last solace. On the river, Margo survives with the skills her grandfather gave her, a stolen rifle, and an obsession with Annie Oakley.
The book progresses much like a canoe trip down any river: Regular off-beat noise of one's paddle hitting the side of the canoe, minutes without anything moving followed by thirty seconds worth of cacophony and mayhem. There is not a lot of dialogue, but the novel never feels like the narrator is simply telling you a story. The reader is there with her. You can feel the water under her boat. Margo grows as she moves from temporary haven to temporary haven; she is smart and hard to shake.
Any Michigander who misses their home river should pick up this book. Anyone looking for a contemplative study of character needs to read this."