BY THE RIVER by Steven Herrick
Kirkus Star


Age Range: 10 - 14
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A teen reflects on his life in a quiet Australian town by the river in 1962. Fourteen-year-old Harry and his brother Keith have lived with their dad in a “clean home that looked dirt-poor” since their Mum died. Remarkably self-sufficient, Harry and Keith swim in Pierce Swamp, torment their teacher, spy on their neighbors, eat watermelon with their dad and walk through millions of butterflies in Cowper’s Paddock. Monthly, Harry, Keith and Dad visit Mum’s grave. Harry remembers his Mum as well as his special friend Linda who drowned in a flood and whose grave he also visits. With a painful crush on the attractive school secretary, Miss Spencer, Harry is enraged when she leaves town pregnant and in disgrace. Facing his own future, Harry realizes people like his Mum, Linda and Miss Spencer who leave town, don’t come back, while those who stay, like Dad, “live quiet, steady lives of half memory.” Harry’s own life moves slowly like the river, unfolding in flowing images of exquisite prose verse. Beautifully told. (Fiction. 10-14)

Pub Date: May 1st, 2006
ISBN: 1-932425-72-1
Page count: 250pp
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1st, 2006


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