Tammy Gillmore's Reviews > Time Is a River

Time Is a River by Mary Alice Monroe
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Apr 20, 2009

it was amazing


This is a novel I purchased one Friday evening during one of my stops at the local Wal-Mart to purchase what I am sure was a buggy-full-of-can't-live-without-items and when I was also in need of an escape from the land of education...then I proceeded to not read it for several weeks due to not being able to escape Educity.

Now back to the novel...Time Is a River.

This journey, written by Mary Alice Monroe, appealed to me because the main character is a breast cancer survivor. I could not remember reading one on such a close-to-the-arm topic (I once had a melanoma insitu there...oh, the dreaded "C" word...an insitu is a cancer that has not invaded below the first layer or two of skin)...nor one on fly-fishing, not that this topic appeals to be personally but is interesting from a sitting-in-my-comfy chair distance. Right?

The next selling point was the multi-genre approach the author achieved. What a great way to "hook" an English teacher! Besides the narrative format, Monroe includes a poem, several diary entries, letters, and famous quotes. Just too cool! A sly way to enter more than one character's head, more thoughts, multiple dreams.

Then the extended metaphor: the river becomes the life-sustaining need of the main character Mia Landon, with whom one cannot help but bond because of her many imperfections. Just as we each face our own reflection in the mirror and find all its many faults, Mia struggles and does overcome her many insecurities...those appointed her by this deadly disease and her adulteress ex-husband (let's see...can a male be an adulteress? Sorry, the description just fits.)

The setting: Mia escapes her reality to find reality (yes, tis true) in a cabin by a river on a mountain...a place far-removed from civilization. Her cell phone could not even get reception! To such a place she goes and faces loneliness as she never has before. Now for the irony? I read this novel during Arkansas' Ice Storm 2009. As I read/heard the many strange sounds of the night within this novel as Mia overcomes her fear of the night, I also heard the lonely pops of the limbs and trees on our land as they succumbed to the weight of the ice that had them enclosed. I heard nature's call...both through fiction and non-fiction.

As a Christian, I appreciated Monroe's affirmation of God through this character who had endured so much who concludes that she could not help but believe in Him after what she went through. Good testimony. Good enough for anyone.

Did I mention this is a ghost story? Out of all Mia's fear, ghosts are not one of them. Maybe this is because this ghost is troubled, and Mia can empathize with that. As a means of helping another hurting person...or ghost, in this case, Mia makes some heroic and very determined endeavors to help this ghost finally rest in peace.

Then I finished the novel and realized that this novel had been and could be used as a focus for a book club with the series of questions that followed. My favorite? #15. The reader is to reflect and find characteristics of a fairy tale. You can! Now who does not enjoy a good fairy tale? No matter what age you are! Thus, I encourage your reading this question before reading the novel.

Wondering if Mia finds her Prince Charming? SPOILER ALERT! She does!
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04/20/2016 marked as: read

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