Saturday, April 26, 2008

Peace Like a River Review...

King Jame Bible Mark 6:4 " A prophet is not without honour, save in his own country, and in his own house. "

I wonder about Davy. When did he come to his agnostic views? Where did he lose his hope & then his faith. Did his mother pack it in her suit case when she left him? At some point Davy decided that his faith was in himself and he was a very capable and bright young man.

It is easy for me to justify Davy's actions. He's seventeen and he has grown up going to school everyday with Israel Finch. He knows this kid. He remembers, surely what Israel had done to his teacher. Now Finch has tried to rape his girlfriend. He's vandalized Davy's home and kidnapped his sister. "They pulled her out of the house, Ted. Her own home. Threatened her, put their hands on her." And the law, Ted Pullet to be exact, sits in the Land's kitchen drinking coffee with shaking hands and passes this off as just a "those boys were both playing-- kicking around -- had meant no harm." Pullet is afraid of Israel Finch and he's not going to do anything. Israel Finch will be back. Davy knows this and so he decides that rather than wait, wonder and be surprised.. risking further damage to Swede, he'll just make an appointment. I believe in military speak this is called, "preparing the battlefield." And so he vandalized Israel's car and lay in his bed with the Winchester waiting because he knows Israel will come and Tommy will follow. They don't have to, no one is forcing them.. but Davy knows they will come. They come with a bat and they enter the home and when the lights come on I think that Israel had half a seconds decision, but he doesn't make the wise one, "he lifted the bat, the knothead, and Davy fired..."

Many of you know my own story about living in a condominium that was invaded by meth cooks. At a certain point, we considered purchasing a hand gun. I was home alone most of the day. I distinctly remember C asking me, "Tiffany, if someone breaks in here, can you point a gun at them and then shoot until it's empty?"

So why if I can defend Davy, why does his father, Jeremiah, decide to help the law to retrieve Davy? I read over pages 245 and 246 a number of times and Jeremiah doesn't come right out and say, but he does lead Reuben to believe that Davy is in the wrong. Was it that Davy shot Tommy as he was crawling away from the scene?
"'... and while he messed thus Tommy Basca's last moment reappeared to me, and the bafflement in his face as he scrambled bellywise over the floor.
"Okay," I said.
"Davy did a wrong thing."'

But as I've told you before, I, Tiffany, don't have a problem justifying Davy's actions. If someone were to break into my home.. the instructions were to empty the gun. And, I would have.

But Jeremiah, still speaking to Reuban, says, "If you like Mr. Andreeson better as an enemy, then keep him one. Maybe that's your job as a boy-- as a brother. My job is different... Because I'm the dad. I have to heed the Lord's instructions." And I don't know, but maybe that just changes everything.

Davy is not a witness. He does not see the miracles that justify his father's action. His father has also acted violently and his face has shown with light. Without faith, Davy is blind to his father's miracles and to his authority? He's curious though. And, later he asks Reuben to relate to him the story of how Jeremiah exchanges his life for Reuben's. "'Breathe," Davy said. 'Let's see you breathe."' Our decisions in life are good informed by conscience and by morality, they are better informed by hope and informed by faith. "... Then I breath deeply, and certainty enters into me like light, like a piece of science, and a curious music seems to hum inside my fingers."

*** Note: I will be posting some questions in the comments section. If you want to participate by answering one of those.. Please do! :) If you want to participate by having me link to your own review.. also let me know it the comments. I hoped you liked the book!

***** Note #2... Book Club at Circe's next time... The Glass Castle May 26th.. can't wait. :)

Circe's Review
Janice's Review
Michelle's Review


love.boxes said...

These are some fairly general discussion questions that I saw in several places on the internet. You are free to respond to one of them.. or make your own comment. :)
Do let me know if you'd like me to link to your review.

1. As the novel begins—indeed, as the very life of this novel's narrator begins—a miracle happens. Describe it. How does it happen? Who accomplishes it? Begin your discussion of this book by recounting the major and minor miracles that occur throughout. What role do they play in Peace Like a River?

2. Born with a severe case of asthma, Reuben Land, our young hero and narrator, must often struggle to bring air into his lungs. Throughout the book, Reuben is preoccupied with his own breathing, and the act of breathing functions in this story as a metaphor for life itself. How does Reuben cope with his ailment, and how is his character influenced by it? Provide instances where breathing takes on special meaning in the narrative.

3. Consider the details of the double homicide committed by Davy, Reuben's older brother. Does Reuben see Davy as a murderer, or as one who acted in self-defense? Does he want Davy brought to justice, or does he think justice has already been served? What about the other main characters: how do they feel? And what about you, the reader? How was your impression of Davy—and of this novel—influenced by his actions? Discuss how the novel explores the idea of loyalty.

michelle said...

My turn with the flu bug! I will hopefully be back to book club later today!

Circe said...

I posted my review. I forgot about the asthma. That theme made me extremely uncomfortable, since I know the feeling of asthma and not being able to expand your lungs. Didn't they have medicine?!?

Janice said...

I'll be finishing the book tonight and post a review by Monday. You can add me then.

Circe said...

So, is anybody up for The Glass Castle for May? I love the book club idea, Tiff! Choose a day and I'll post a review. I might have to reread it, but it would be a fun one to revisit.

Circe said...

Off the subject...I know, Tiff, Ruby loved the owl box. In fact, it might have been her inspiration for the cherry blossom idea. If you make more, I would love to buy one. She does have similar taste to you...she says thanks but no thanks on the brown bedspread. It's so nice of you to offer! BTW, just got back from Carmina Burana. I leaped to my feet with the rest of the crowd afterwards. How did c react?

The Motherboard said...

I don't have your email Tiff, but if you want to share... :>)
I will read The Glass Castle. I saw a Documentary on this woman... amazing!
Let me know when and where!

Circe said...

I didn't get your email, but YES on dinner. When is it? Call me. Yes, Carmina Burana was exceptional. The swan is my very favorite part. I love it! Normally, the soloists just stand there and sing it straight. With the supertitles and the singers' playing it up, we were able to enjoy the humor, which was so much fun! I felt lucky to be there.

michelle said...

Okay, I am among the living but I may wait to post mine until tomorrow, I haven't quite finished it with all the sickies. I am in for glass castle too!

love.boxes said...

*** another note here. It seemed to me as I we were once again discussing this book at the dinner table.. that I had once read it's opposite..

We Were the Mulvany's by Joyce Carol Oates
was an Oprah Book Club pick in 2001. Here is a synopsis

Caution.. this book is graphic in places and rough reading.. not for everyone.

Emily LinDa said...

Tiffany, I came to your blog through Circe's recommendation. I was impressed by your discussion of the opposing themes in the book. Was Davy justified? I don't know. I felt so conflicted at the end. I think that was intentional because Reuben was also left very conflicted about Davy's actions. He loved his brother and kept loving him, but never quite came to peace with what he did or what Israel and Tommy did to provoke it...or what his father did in joining the Andreeson for the hunt either. Very well written book but did not leave peace...especially not Peace like a river:)

love.boxes said...


Just for those of you who might be interested and reading along..

The name Jeremiah means one who is "lifted up by God"

The name Israel means "one who has wrestled with an Angel"

Reuban means.. "behold a son"

Davy a form of David means "beloved"

Michelle said...

Just popping in to read your excellent review. I really like this book, but I told Circe I had a hard time putting how I felt into words. I think you are suppose to feel conflicted, exactly how you would feel if someone you loved did something horrible, that you knew deep down was unjustifiable and wrong. You come at it in the book, from the mind of a very young man, but I think even at my age the journey would be similar. At first I wanted Davy to escape, but then how wrong what he did was kept eating at me. I was thinking about my own siblings and how (even though I don't think any of us have done anything this extreme) the love is there even when you know they are wrong.

Anyway, I hope you all don't mind if I join your book club, even if I don't write a review for this one.

The Motherboard said...

I am still in the club, right? I have finally come to the realization that I will have to get this on tape and finish it... in my sleep exhausted state, everytime I sit down to read, I fall asleep...
I will post my review after I LISTEN to it on tape.
Sorry guys.

love.boxes said...

Welcome Michelle! We are so glad to have you.. and Elisa.. you are totally still in. :) The reader is really good.. not Chad Lowe.. the other guy kinda sounds like he has asthma.. so it makes that a constant theme. :)