Friday, March 07, 2008

The River Queen
by Mary Morris

"The River Queen" is a travel narrative set on the author's 3 week adventure on a houseboat travelling south on the Mississippi River and for a short period on the Missouri River.

Morris hitched a ride with two guys, strangers named Tom and Jerry (you heard right) on a classic, battered and malfunctioning houseboat. The boat was slow and expensive to move along the river due to the huge V8 engines and the price of gasoline. There was no functioning shower and Tom has to sleep on the upper deck, on an air mattress, under the stars.

The other passenger was Tom's chiuaua (Mexican dog - sp?) named Samantha. The adventure was compelling enough for a book, but shared the storyline with the author's coming to grips with her father's death - although he was a few years over 100 when he died. Honestly he didn't sound like a wonderful father - he screamed a lot, criticised, was anxious and didn't care a whole lot for his wife, but Morris adored him anyway.

I felt sympathy for Morris in her midlife anxieties her need to understand her past in order to cope with the here, now and future. The trip turned into an elixir and medicine for her mind, along with understanding her father and his anxieties a bit more during the journey. Luckily, Tom and Jerry, kept the book lighthearted and afloat with their their humor personal quirks or else the book would've sank in doldrums of depressions and seriousness.

It was an interesting and good read, but some readers may be tempted to put the book down - don't because the ending is steeped in life lesson and reflections we all have had in life.

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