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richardderus

Expendable Mudge Muses Aloud

Once Upon a River - Bonnie Jo Campbell Pearl Ruled: ONCE UPON A RIVER by BONNIE JO CAMPBELL (p82)Oh heavy, heavy sigh. I cannot make myself read more of this beautifully crafted book. Campbell's trademark gorgeous sentences are not enough to propel me any further into the life of sixteen-year-old Margo Crane. I don't want to read about Margo's consensual sexual adventures with an adult man.I just don't.But let me tell you what's right with this book: The writing. Oh. Oh. Campbell is describing a harsh and unjust world in words that make me vibrate like a tuning fork that's just found its note. Campbell's descriptions of Michigan make me ache to see it for myself. Her deft, cruel characterizations are inarguably fine...nice, in the original sense of the word...I don't want to use the word "precise" because that conjures the spectre of Henry James, and that scares people off, but precise they are.I hate like poison that the beauty of the book, its lovely wideness and its supremely inviting lushness, are closed to me by my own shuddering disgust for teenaged girls and heterosexual congress. But that, I fear, is where I am and what I feel.DO NOT TAKE THIS AS A WARN-OFF!! I recommend to the straight people who like gorgeous writing and coming-of-age stories that this book rise to the top of the pile immediately! If it's your first try at a Bonnie Jo Campbell book, so much the better, and so much the more exciting for you. She is a talent to be savored and supported with book purchases.