• The Bossy Bookworm

Review of The River by Peter Heller

A book I loved, in case you missed it: I loved the deep friendship; details of outdoorsy expertise and adventuring; and life-and-death moments that hinge on skill or luck or both.

Low-key best friends Jack and Wynn have taken many challenging outdoor expeditions together. They're skilled and joyful adventurers. But when a wildfire rages near where they're canoeing the Maskwa River in northern Canada, everything turns upside down.


Oh, Peter Heller! The details of running the Canadian river, traveling and camping, and Jack and Wynn's friendship itself all hooked me completely.


I loved the deep, complementary friendship; outdoorsy expertise and adventuring; optimism running up against realism and cynicism; life-and-death moments and luck; quick thinking and premeditated, clever plans; all of it.


If I’m being picky, the motivation for Pierre’s actions felt thin. But the aftermath was urgent, real, and spurred the story along in important ways.


The final scenes were exquisitely painful and beautiful and really hit me hard.

Any Bossy thoughts about this book?

Heller is also the author of The Dog Stars, a dystopian story I gave five stars, and The Painter, which I also liked. I thought about it long after I finished it and I still think about it from time to time.


This book is listed in the upcoming Greedy Reading List Six Book Club Books I Loved Last Year, to be posted 1/15/21.