A River Runs Through It

By Norman Maclean

Like Persuasion, this book was assigned for my Creating Compelling Narrative class. The professor has admitted that she assigned this book as a way to sort of counteract Persuasion: a man’s story to balance against the woman’s. I think both stories are written for a different kind of person than me. This tale seems to be almost entirely made up of contemplative scenes, like Persuasion was, with all of the action of the story happening suddenly at the end, delivering an emotional gut punch to the largely unprepared reader. Like Persuasion, A River Runs Through It can not boast a great many interesting characters, and indeed paints unlikeable pictures of almost everyone within. I found the near-constant geographical description of Montana boring and difficult to follow, causing me to keep a watchful eye on the numbers at the bottom of the page, willing them to increase faster. If one wants to feel vaguely sad and detached, I think this story would be a fantastic form of catharsis. Otherwise, I would not recommend it to the young reader.