Once Upon a River, by Bonnie Jo Campbell (2011)

Sixteen-year-old sharpshooter Margo Crane leaves home after a family dispute and follows the river, initially seeking male companions of varying quality before deciding to live by her wits.  Though the story starts out with a literal bang, the rest feels disconnected as Margo undergoes a series of strung-together tribulations.  We see her growing up, but the change feels less satisfying since a lot of it was there all along.  The scenes vary in their effectiveness, with some feeling clunky as they follow that literary fiction voice often copied by graduate writing workshops.  In short: nothing too new here.


Where I Got It:

Bought online in August 2013 for a graduate writing workshop (the last of several books I bought for that workshop but didn’t actually read until later).


Author website

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