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Review – The River, By Moonlight

The River, By Moonlight
by Camille Marchetta
359 pages

I received The River, By Moonlight through Mary at Blog Stop Book Tours. I really love working with her as she’s someone who genuinely loves books…okay, and I love chatting with her on gmail. Which, *psst* I’m almost always near my gmail account if you ever want to chat. *tap, tap* Yes, I’m talking to you.

Back to the book. The River, By Moonlight is about a girl, Lily, 25 years old, who commits suicide. The year is 1917, and Lily, being beautiful, a talented painter, and having wonderful friends and family, had her whole life in front of her. Why would she take her own life? Were things really that bad?

The author has the story narrated by eight different people, each with their own chapter, who were in some way connected to Lily. These people don’t necessarily have any insight to give the reader into why Lily might have offed herself, but they do provide fascinating sub-stories. It was almost like these miniature stories within a story…some of the narrators weren’t even able to see past their own navel.

One of the common denominators that each character went back to again and again when pondering Lily’s death was: Why would Lily kill herself? She was so beautiful. Not all characters know that Lily killed herself; some believe it to be an accident, but even with those people, they often thought how horrible her death was because she was so pretty. I found this a fascinating observation on the author’s part, that human nature looks at often superficial factors in a person’s life and gives those things more weight than they deserve.

The second to last chapter is narrated by Lily in the 12 or so hours before her death, giving the reader a first hand look at why Lily might have thought suicide was an option. The only flaw I found in the book was in Lily’s section, as her reasoning that spiraled into suicide seemed a little rushed. If, as I suspect, Lily had some underlying psychiatric issues, then that wasn’t as fleshed out as it should have been. However, I think this is a fairly minor complaint.

While on the heavier side, this book would be great for a book club discussion. Issues of adequacy, love, fidelity, suicide, artists, would all worm their way into any discussion about this book. I definitely recommend this book.

Rating: 89 out of 100

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7 Responses to “Review – The River, By Moonlight”

  1. Camille Marchetta

    Thank you for the review, Trish. I really enjoyed reading it. And it’s given me something to think about. Did Lily’s family and friends really consider her death particularly awful because she was so pretty? Hmmm. Now, that’s a discussion I’d like to have. Camille


  2. Michele

    It does sound like an excellent book club discussion book. I am going to add it to my book club ideas blog. Thanks!


  3. Mary Lewis

    Fantastic review, Trish!

    The thought I was left with when I read The River, By Moonlight was that even if everything looks good from the outside in, the inside may not be healthy. Lily was suffering, but anyone looking at her would have thought she was fine.

    It’s absolutely a book that makes you think and sticks with you long after you finish reading it.


  4. Ladytink_534

    Sounds like a sad book but still interesting


  5. curlywurlygurly

    hmmm…sounds like a good read. i’ll put it on my DBTBR list. (that’s depressing books to be read list..) hee hee.


  6. Mary Lewis

    The thing is, even in it’s darkness, light is revealed. And the writing is breathtaking!


  7. Mom is Just a Nickname » Book Review: The River, By Moonlight by Camille Marchetta

    […] Hey Lady! Whatcha Readin’? […]

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