Swift Rivers. Cornelia Meigs. 1932/2004. Walker. 288 pages.
It was the summer that Chris Dahlberg was seventeen that he mowed the high meadow alone for the first time.
I can't say that I LOVED Swift Rivers. But I can say that I did enjoy it--most of it at least. I checked it out from the library not really knowing what to expect. My plan was to give it a chapter or two to see if it was even something I wanted to read. And it was. Chris Dahlberg is a great hero for an adventure story. After his parents' death, his Uncle became responsible for him. But this responsibility didn't include love and respect. Chris works hard day after day after day with no one to really appreciate him. Since the Uncle absolutely HATES his father--Chris' grandfather--when Chris decides to leave home for four days to check on his grandfather, the Uncle forbids him, warning him that if he leaves he shouldn't bother coming back. For he'll never, ever, ever welcome him back into his home. Knowing that the grandfather is getting older, knowing that there must be a reason why he didn't come to help the mowing this year--like he has every year since he can remember--he makes his decision. He just has to see if his grandfather needs help. He needs to see if grandfather is ready to make it through the winter. The uncle is true to his word, but that doesn't turn out to be such a bad thing. For Chris and his grandfather and a helpful neighbor or two come up with an idea. It's a bit of a risk, it's not really been done before, but if it succeeds, it will be the start of something big. Chris and his grandfather are determined to enter the logging business, to cut down trees, and float the logs down the river, etc.
Half of the novel is the adventure of the logs-down-the-river. How this journey changes Chris. So it's a coming-of-age adventure story set in the 1830s. It's an industrious novel--one that focuses on men hard at work. It's a dangerous job that requires focus and skill and determination.
I liked this one because I liked Chris. I didn't necessarily love all the descriptions of river rafting. But even though I wasn't loving each and every page, I still enjoyed it for the most part.
© 2011 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews