Received: Received a copy in exchange for an honest reviewRelease Date: March 19, 2013
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Neil Kazenzakis is barely holding his life together: ever since an accident left his wife profoundly disabled, he's been doing his best as a single dad and popular high school teacher. He's also been dealing with Lauren Downey, his sort-of girlfriend of the past two years who's pushing for a commitment—and for Neil to finally tell his son Christopher about their secret relationship.
Neil's carefully balanced world begins to fall apart when some questionable footage of him is anonymously posted to YouTube...just as Chris learns about Lauren in the worst possible way. Doubting his own recollection of the events in the online video and threatened with the loss of his job and the ability to care for his wife, Neil must find a way to prove the truth to his family, his community, and himself as he struggles to regain the splintered trust of his son.
Heartbreaking, poignant, and written with devastating humor and warmth, The Banks of Certain Rivers is a shattering story of memory, loss, and just how far a man will go to show the people closest to him the meaning of love.
This book has been on my radar because of a group I am part of on Goodreads, so when I got asked if I would like to review it, I was happy to check it out! I really enjoyed the idea of this book, looking into a familial relationship during a very difficult time. This book really spoke to me at times, really showing what people will do for those they love the most.
I found that it took a bit of time to get into the drama of the book, but when Neil's world begins to fall apart little by little, you will be gripped with how real the story feels. Harrison really brings out realistic issues in this book. Everything that Neil goes through it heartbreaking, Christopher is his only family at this point and he must figure out how to tell his son that he is in a new relationship without it sounding like he doesn't care about his wife.
I really enjoy that there are parts in this book that detail how much Neil misses his wife, he opens up an email account that no one can access to send emails to his wife about what is happening in his life, even though she can't respond it's a great way for Neil to open up about things.
What was really great in this book were the secondary characters. Harrison has such a range of personalities in this book, but I loved seeing how people would come together for others in their time of need. No one knows what to believe when this video comes out, and slowly Neil finds himself in more and more trouble, and his son is pulling away from him at a time when he is needed the most. Alan was my favourite character of all, he was eccentric and I loved how he was the voice of reason for Nick through everything. Nick wanted to take the easy way out at times, always looking for the perfect moment, but what Harrison shows in this book is that there never is such thing as a perfect moment to come out with difficult information. It will always be hard and there will always be problems.
There was one small issue I had at the end of the book, and that is after everything that happened, I felt like I missed out on an explanation of why something was happening throughout the story. (I can't explain without giving everything away). I felt that with this one little issue, there was a quick mention and I think readers were supposed to understand it, but I wanted to know why.
Other than that one thing though, this book is beautiful and an amazing story about family and friends. Harrison tells such a true tale with this story and really shows the meaning of family. I am one of those people that my family is everything to me, and I will always be there, but we see that family is not just blood relations but friends as well.