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