Michelle's Reviews > Once Upon a River

Once Upon a River by Bonnie Jo Campbell
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's review
Jul 07, 2011

liked it
bookshelves: 2012-read
Recommended to Michelle by: Several "best of" lists
Recommended for: female hunters or adventure types

Bonnie Jo Campbell's Once Upon a River is a modern day retelling of Huckelberry Finn but with a girl instead of a boy. It is a very well written story about a teenaged girl who survives on the Kalamazoo River after her mother runs off and her father is killed. The book has a taste of the Hatfield's vs. the McCoy's which eventually drives the protaganist, Margo, to take her boat onto the river where more adventure or misadventure lurks.


The one thing that really bothers me about this book is the sexual situations and complete ignorance towards sex Margo has. I don't know if it is the prolification of the books I have read this year where the young female protagonist has a completely distorted view of self and allows/uses sex like one brushes their teeth. She is raped twice and has unprotected sex with at least 4 other men and she is 16 maybe 17. She does nothing at all to stop the first rape blindly being led to bed by an uncle while the rest of their family is celebrating Thanksgiving just outside the woodshed. Can we not have a young female character that can get themselves out of these situations? Is this what is happening in real life?

AARGH! Take out the wonton sex and rape in this book and you have a much better book.

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Michelle Not as good as I had hoped. More later...

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