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Into This River I Drown

4.16  ·  Rating details ·  3,439 ratings  ·  719 reviews
2014 Lambda Literary Award Winner for Best Gay Romance

Five years ago, Benji Green lost his beloved father, Big Eddie, who drowned when his truck crashed into a river. All called it an accident, but Benji thought it more. However, even years later, he is buried deep in his grief, throwing himself into taking over Big Eddie's convenience store in the small town of Roseland,
ebook, 400 pages
Published March 25th 2013 by Dreamspinner Press (first published March 24th 2013)
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Aparna Benoy It does have deaths. It does have sex. But it is beautiful.

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Average rating 4.16  · 
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 ·  3,439 ratings  ·  719 reviews

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Heather K (dentist in my spare time)
*Price drop to $0.99 at Amazon US, 11/1/18*

This book didn't made me cry, it made me weep.

Was this book sad? Yes, the grief that Benji has over his father's death is overwhelming and perfectly articulated by the author. However, that isn't what made me sob at work while reading this book on my lunch break.

What made me completely break down is the total and complete love that Benji has for his father and vice versa. It is the heartbreaking magnitude of that love that ripped me to shreds. Benji a
Dear T.J. Klune,

I hate you. You’ve completely sabotaged my reading year. Here I am, not even a full month into 2014 and you just ran me over with a literary freight train. I might as well read monster porn until 2015 because I doubt that anything I pick up will replace this as my favorite book of the year.

Damn you,

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Rosa, really
Jun 17, 2013 rated it did not like it

DNF 63%

I know....I know. What the hell?

I just could not deal with Benji's constant depression. I desperately wanted to give him the number of a good psychologist, a large bottle of antidepressants and suggest he take up journaling.

At least I got to use a Big Lebowski gif. The Dude makes everything better.
Relisten #2
I listened to this almost a year before. I'm bumping this up to 5 full stars dispute my pet peeve of no epilogue. I was still reduced to a blubbering mess. If only all fathers where like Big Eddie.

4.5 stars
MY GOD! having read all of TJ's newer books... Reading his older work t was daunting. I felt like I didn't want to tarnish my experience with his writing. Maybe its not as good, not as poignant, not as beautiful.
I was wrong.

FML this book was HARD. I have had tears in my eyes from
☆ Todd
Mar 16, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites

God. Yes. Just, YES.

If I had to make a list of 10 books that you must read, this book would be on that list.

Very enjoyable read. Pretty long, not that I was bored and wanting it to end at all.

The story was really more that of a love story between Benji and his father, Big Eddie. No, get your minds out of the gutter, not that way. The depth of their father and son love, then the loss of that love is guaranteed to fold your heart up like origami and make you sob a time or two. Buy Kleenex.

The bo
Elisa Glendenning
✨5 Stars✨

This is the story of my love for two men.
One is my father.
The other is a man who fell from the sky.

Bloody brilliant and everything I’ve come to expect from TJ Klune. Why did I take so long to read it? 🤦🏻‍♀️

This was so bittersweet. What makes it even more poignant is that TJ Klune lost his own father at a very early age 💔. When Benji was 16, he didn’t just lose his dad in tragic circumstances, he lost his best friend. Some people don’t realise what they have until it’s gone but n
I'm truly of two minds about this book.

On the one hand, it was beautiful. The premise, the story in and of itself, the characterizations and most of all, the message it conveys--just gorgeous. The concepts of angels and archangels were fascinating and rather unique. Emotions were written to maximum impact. And in parts, the writing was really, really good, almost poetic; it gripped me, sucked me in and didn't let me go.

On the other hand, for the most part of the book the writing was chatty, lo
Trisha Harrington
Okay, this was one of the most emotional reads ever. I'm a girl who loves dark and depressing books, but it has to have a meaning for me. I can't read something that makes no sense. The cover drew me in originally. I thought it was beautiful the first time I saw it. Since then I have been nervous to read it. But as you can see I did read it, and I can tell you hand on heart I loved it!

Benji lost his father when he was 16. He drowned in a river and it was deemed an accident. Benji never believed
* Meli Mel *

♥♥♥ 5+ 'Painfully So Cherry' Stars ♥♥♥

●  ●  ●  ●  ●  ●  ●  ●  ●  ●  ●  ●  ●  ●  ●  ●  ●  ●

'Sometimes I float along the river
For its surface I am bound
And there are times stones done fill my pockets
And it's into this river I drown'

●  ●  ●  ●  ●  ●  ●  ●  ●  ●  ●  ●  ●  ●  ●  ●  ●  ●

I'm going to try to keep this review short because no matter what I say, it will not do this book justice. I was completely blown away by this story. T.J. Klune is an amazing versatile author. I truly believe that
Once I heard the white peacock symbolizes the dispersion of souls throughout the world.


The Dalai Lama was once asked what would he do if all his spiritual beliefs were scientifically disproven. He said that if he read all the evidence, all the research, and it was irrefutable, he would have to change.


What would you do if something spiritual disproved your scientific beliefs?

I have just seen that movie, spiritual and scientific thoughts in a cocktail shaker, which led me to similar movies a
I bought Into This River I Drown the summer of 2015, but for some reason I waited until now to actually read it. I've opened it many times to dig in, but something would always make me choose a different book. Maybe it was the length -- it's loooonnng. Maybe it's because I knew that TJ Klune would shred me like no one else does. Maybe I just wasn't ready.

I'm not a religious person, and I mean at all. I never really have been and I doubt I ever will be. And this book deals heavily in religious my
Feb 23, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: mm, on-my-kindle
Okay I lied I didn't put this down, and read something lighter and fluffier. I finished it while laying on the front porch swing ugly crying. Like I'm glad there was bamboo that shades the porch so no one can see me cry sort of crying. I need to go home cuddle some stuffed animals, or better yet drive to my best friends' house and cuddle their puppies sort of crying.

I need a hug.

I may write a real review someday.


I wouldn't hold your breath.

This took a lot out of me.

It was great, but...

Nov 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: queer, lgbtq, favorites
Last year was rich for me in terms of literary discoveries. I was lucky to read a number of amazing books and to discover some new authors that have quickly become very dear to my heart. Last, in order of time, is the wonderful T.J. Klune. His meditative novel Into This River I Drown - possibly one of the most haunting titles and covers I've ever come across - touched me in some very deep and personal ways and it's a book I won't ever forget.

Benji is twenty-one and still profoundly grieving for
☆☆☆~Bev's World of Books~☆☆☆

Why do I love books???

I'm taken into other worlds where I can control what goes on, and is often so much better than reality. They make me smile and sometimes laugh out loud; they make me cringe or are downright embarrassing; they let my imagination run riot; they make me really angry and think 'WTF?' or gasp with indignation; sometimes I'm breathless with anticipation and can't wait to find out what happens next; they make me snigger and chuckle, and if I'm especially lucky a little hot and bot
This book destroyed me.

This book felt super long, but it wasn’t anything bad at all. I enjoyed every moment. If you think “enjoy” means tearing up non-stop and cries every chapter then yes, this was a hell of an enjoyment. I really don’t know how to review this, there were too many things going on, too many emotions, I can’t even write down how I felt every single moment. I usually write my review as I was reading, but this didn’t feel right to do so. All I wanted was to feel it through, no thi
Oct 08, 2016 rated it really liked it
Oh, the power of faith! The power of sacrifice and love.

I'm so happy I read this book. It's one of those books that I will always remember. The story is extraordinary. Every single page is a work of art.

This is the story of Benjamin and Calliel. Nothing I say can describe how wonderful these two are, how beautiful their relationship is.

The whole books feels surreal and dream-like. All the characters were unique. There were many things that i didn't see coming and that makes this whole story more
Anyta Sunday
Mar 27, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Into this book I drowned—and I wasn’t so keen on being rescued. I quite loved where I was, thank you very much.

But—sigh—it’s over . . . I guess it’s time for me to do some grieving of my own, because boy will I miss these characters.

It’s hard to write a review for this without giving away too much. There are so many amazing twists and turns that it just has to be read. But, to give you a feel of the story, here are my dedications to each main character:

ABE – Such a warm, wonderful friend. I lo
Feb 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Divinely heartwrenching and so full of love.

This book made me run the gamut of emotions from joy, to anger, to disbelief, to faith, to love, to grief. Those and so many more.

Was this book a fantasy? In a sense. Magical realism would be a more accurate moniker, specially the first half. What do you call a book filled with dreams that are real, and a guardian angel come down from On High?

As always, the prose was absolutely lovely. Lyrical and descriptive, TJK tells us this story through flashbacks
Sep 28, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I really don't think anything I write can do justice to just how great a book this is. I was so sad when I finished because I wanted to read more so I went back to find some of my favorite parts to read them again.

I've never had such an emotional reaction to any book before. There were times when I was so deeply sad and upset and other times that I was literally laughing out loud. Many times I didn't want to read further as I feared I wouldn't like the outcome, yet I read as fast as I could hopi
Jan 24, 2014 rated it it was amazing
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I'll start off by saying that Into This River I Drown by TJ Klune is amazing. I knew before I started that this was going to be an emotional book but I still wasn't prepared. I ugly cried in this book- more than once. This book hurt so good.

This story is not only about two men who fall in love, but also the love between father and son. Benji lost his father, Big Eddie, five years ago and is haunted by the events that took place. He is convinced that his father was murdered. I don't want to expl
re-listen April 2018
I still have no words to describe the beauty that is this story but it will forever be one of my favorite books!


Until I find appropriate words for this fantastic book, I'll leave you some pictures.

What you need:

What you can expect:

No spoilers here, just feels. A lot of feels.

There is a drowning. Benjamin's daddy, Big Eddie, drowns in the river.
Then there is the drowning that Benjamin is going through, the drowning in sorrow and pain.
This story then goes from normal How to handle Loss, into strict paranormal and religious. And I hate the religious. Only here? It works.

It works so well, I am astonished. I fell headlong into the story, and I fell headlong in love with Benjamin. Cal took me a moment to warm up to, but feat

This might be the hardest review I’ve ever tried to write. Mostly because I don’t want give anything away about this book. I think it should be experienced with a completely blank slate. Also, there’s no way I could adequately express the beauty that I just read.

Benji is drowning in the loss of his father. He’s lonely, lost and drowning. Since his father’s death five years ago he goes through the motions of life. He feigns his happiness for his mother’s sake but nothing about his life really giv
Full review can be found at On Top Down Under Book Reviews.

A heartbreaking story of love, loss and sacrifice. Not all is as it appears and it takes suspension of belief in order to truly appreciate this story. I laughed. I cried. I ended it with a smile on my face.

Another great read by one of my favorite authors.

This book was provided by the publisher in exchange for a fair and honest review.

My Favorite Books of 2013

My Favorite Book Covers of 2013
Mar 14, 2013 rated it it was amazing
If we lived in an era where written works were still earmarked as classics, this book would definitely be a classic. The prose is haunting, captivating, and engaging. The imagery is powerfull and the emotions are intense. I have likened it to a modern day "To Kill A Mockingbird" because Roseland just has the feel of that laid back Southern town that Atticus Finch called home. All the townfolk are just a little quirky, a little offbeat, but that's okay because they have deep bonds that weave them ...more
Apr 19, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
i really enjoyed this book, but it made me cry.

i'm still trying to wrap my head around it. this was more than a romance novel. it was a story about the relationship between a father and son and it made me feel a lot of things that i haven't really finished processing yet.

i'm sure i'll be able to write a more concise review in a few days, but overall i did love it.
Feb 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing
5 stars!

Okay I had to start with 5 stars, because I am still reeling from the emotional roller coaster that this book has put me through.

I started it last night, and it's not a short book, but I COULD NOT PUT IT DOWN. I just couldn't get away from this story.

TJ Klune is a writing god, I tell you. He manages to capture so many emotions in such a simple, yet poetic way. This whole thing was like one long poem.

Benji is lost. So so lost. He lost his daddy, the greatest man who ever walked the ea
Ryan Santle
Apr 25, 2015 rated it liked it
3 Stars

Whenever I decide to read a book, I rarely read the blurbs. I consider blurbs as a summary. Thus, a spoiler. I just check the book via GR, glimpse at the rating, check my GR friends' ratings to the book, the general readers' ratings, but I try to not to delve into reviews too much as well. I just skim and scan the bold letter parts.

Thus, when I picked up this book, there are only 3 things I knew about it:

1.) This will be a very sad book (Thus, I saved Howl #2 just in case this will make m
Jess-i-ca ~Sometimes a Gif Witch~
crying photo 4973548_zps836cc80b.gif

"This is at once the end and the beginning. This is the story of my love of two men. One is my father. The other is a man who fell from the sky."

Benji is a twenty-something year old gay man who lives in a small town. His father owned a gas station and he now runs it since his father passed away. He has this recurring dream where he is drowning. He is drowning and surrounded by blue. He is drowning, surrounded by blue, and his father is there. It’s the site where his father had his acci
Suanne Laqueur
I'm going to put this one down and not feel guilty. Those of you who know me know I worship Klune, and if one of his books was a "Meh" for me, it only makes me love and admire him more. And it gives me courage for when a fan thinks my latest is "Meh."

Let us embrace the beautiful human frailty that is meh!
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*Buddy Read: Meli Mel, Lili & Pervy 5/13/14* 81 34 May 17, 2014 03:54PM  
The Backlot Gay B...: Tj Klune, "Into this River I Drown" 6 61 May 10, 2013 10:57PM  
Dreamspinner Press: Into This River I Drown by TJ Klune 1 54 Mar 25, 2013 01:56PM  

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TJ KLUNE is a Lambda Literary Award-winning author (Into This River I Drown) and an ex-claims examiner for an insurance company. His novels include The House in the Cerulean Sea and The Extraordinaries. Being queer himself, TJ believes it's important—now more than ever—to have accurate, positive, queer representation in stories. ...more

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“Sometimes I float along the river
For its surface I am bound
And there are times stones done fill my pockets
And it's into this river I drown”
More quotes…