The Banks of Certain Rivers by Jon Harrison


I fully expected to hate Jon Harrison’s The Banks of Certain Rivers, but I absolutely loved this book!! Hahahahaha, I know no one actually believed that. We all know by now that that sort of miracle rarely happens to me, if ever. So yeah, I didn’t hate it, but I far from loved it. The Banks of Certain Rivers yields ambivalence, at best. Blast. The Kindle Unlimited Curse strikes again!

Neil Kazenzakis is a running coach and teacher, but his life is incredibly complicated. His wife was left in a comatose state after a near-drowning years ago, so he is raising his teenage son all by his onesies. Said wife’s mother is slowly deteriorating from dementia and Neil also cares for her, with the help of the home nurse, with whom Neil has been pursuing a secret relationship with for two years that has now resulted in a secret pregnancy. Add to the mix that Neil was in a little altercation at his school, and while not his fault, the video floating around YouTube sure is damning. Suffice it to say that Neil is having a no good, very bad day…errr, life.

The problem with books like The Banks of Certain Rivers is that the problems are so complex, yet they are all tidily resolved by the end. Neil comes through unscathed and a better man. Everyone loves each other and hugs, ultimately forming a family band and touring the countryside. Ok that didn’t happen, but it would have definitely improved the plot. If you want a book about a guy whose life totally crumbles, go straight to Michael Chabon’s Wonder Boys. This, ladies and gentleman, is how it is done. Chabon attacks a similar scenario with humor and wit, creating a book so superior that the two are not even in the same league. I would not recommend the The Banks of Certain Rivers to anyone, ever, but I’d like to thank Jon Harrison for encouraging me to revisit Wonder Boys, it’s been too long since I’ve read a good book, anyway.

Previously published on danetrain.com

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