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Once upon a river
Campbell, Bonnie Jo
Adult Fiction CAMPBEL

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From Publishers' Weekly:

In her follow-up to National Book Award finalist American Salvage, Campbell trains her unflinching eye on Margo Crane, a down-on-her-luck 16-year-old living in late 1970s rural Michigan who is, in rapid succession, abandoned by her mother, raped by her uncle, and witness to the shooting death of her father. An accomplished marksman who worships Annie Oakley, Margo takes off, traveling up the Stark River and struggling to survive on her own, having been once again rejected by her mother. Encountering a progression of strangers, both kind and otherwise, Margo is a modern-day pioneer whose steely resolve is matched only by her guarded need for tenderness. Forced to kill a man in a moment of panic, Margo must learn to forgive those who have hurt her in order to forge a new and better life for herself. Working against the backdrop of a beautiful but unforgiving landscape, Campbell juxtaposes spare prose with lush details in this stark chronicle of hardship and splendor, friendship and disappointment, and families undone and reunited, and though the novel occasionally flags under the crushing burden of Margo's unremitting ill fortune, it is, finally, a fine and sobering story with more than a little Winter's Bone-style grit in it. (July) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

From Library Journal:

This second novel by National Book Award finalist Campbell (American Salvage) is set in Murrayville, a rural Michigan town far removed from the modern world. Inhabitants have lived off the Stark River for generations, including 16-year-old Margo Crane's family. She's been taught the best fishing spots and knows the hidden dangers downstream from the Murray Metal Fabricating Plant. Her carefree existence ends when her mother, a depressed alcoholic, leaves town, and Margo is raped by her uncle Cal. Margo's unique revenge leads to her father's death, a tragic event that never-theless sets her free from being at the mercy of the Murrays. Equipped with ammunition, food, her father's ashes, and a pink envelope with her mother's return address, she takes her father's boat downstream, determined to find her mother. Margo survives by hunting, fishing, and garden pilfering and by distrusting people. Her river odyssey ultimately leads to self-preservation on her terms. VERDICT A truthful and deeply human story that pulls us in and won't let go. Readers looking for superior fiction are in for an uplifting, first-rate story. [See Prepub Alert, 1/10/11.]-Donna Bettencourt, Mesa Cty. P.L., Grand Junction, CO (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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