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Angela Palm grew up in a place not marked on the map, her house set on the banks of a river that had been straightened to make way for farmland. Every year, the Kankakee River in rural Indiana flooded and returned to its old course while the residents sandbagged their homes against the rising water. From her bedroom window, Palm watched the neighbor boy and loved him in se Angela Palm grew up in a place not marked on the map, her house set on the banks of a river that had been straightened to make way for farmland. Every year, the Kankakee River in rural Indiana flooded and returned to its old course while the residents sandbagged their homes against the rising water. From her bedroom window, Palm watched the neighbor boy and loved him in secret, imagining a life with him even as she longed for a future that held more than a job at the neighborhood bar. For Palm, caught in this landscape of flood and drought, escape was a continually receding hope. Though she did escape, as an adult Palm finds herself drawn back, like the river, to her origins. But this means more than just recalling vibrant, complicated memories of the place that shaped her, or trying to understand the family that raised her. It means visiting the prison where the boy that she loved is serving a life sentence for a brutal murder. It means trying to chart, through the mesmerizing, interconnected essays of Riverine, what happens when a single event forces the path of her life off course.


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Angela Palm grew up in a place not marked on the map, her house set on the banks of a river that had been straightened to make way for farmland. Every year, the Kankakee River in rural Indiana flooded and returned to its old course while the residents sandbagged their homes against the rising water. From her bedroom window, Palm watched the neighbor boy and loved him in se Angela Palm grew up in a place not marked on the map, her house set on the banks of a river that had been straightened to make way for farmland. Every year, the Kankakee River in rural Indiana flooded and returned to its old course while the residents sandbagged their homes against the rising water. From her bedroom window, Palm watched the neighbor boy and loved him in secret, imagining a life with him even as she longed for a future that held more than a job at the neighborhood bar. For Palm, caught in this landscape of flood and drought, escape was a continually receding hope. Though she did escape, as an adult Palm finds herself drawn back, like the river, to her origins. But this means more than just recalling vibrant, complicated memories of the place that shaped her, or trying to understand the family that raised her. It means visiting the prison where the boy that she loved is serving a life sentence for a brutal murder. It means trying to chart, through the mesmerizing, interconnected essays of Riverine, what happens when a single event forces the path of her life off course.

30 review for Riverine: A Memoir from Anywhere But Here

  1. 4 out of 5

    Rebecca

    Riverine has a strong sense of place, revealing how traces of the past are still visible in the landscape and how our environment shapes who we are. Palm reflects on the winding course of her life and the people who meant most to her along the way, including Corey, an older neighbor boy she had a crush on. Although he and the author drifted apart, she was devastated to learn that he had been sentenced to life in prison for murdering their elderly neighbors. Reconnecting with Corey in her thirtie Riverine has a strong sense of place, revealing how traces of the past are still visible in the landscape and how our environment shapes who we are. Palm reflects on the winding course of her life and the people who meant most to her along the way, including Corey, an older neighbor boy she had a crush on. Although he and the author drifted apart, she was devastated to learn that he had been sentenced to life in prison for murdering their elderly neighbors. Reconnecting with Corey in her thirties is one of the book’s highlights. In keeping with the fluid water imagery, there is sometimes a stream-of-consciousness element to Palm’s writing. That plus the occasional commentary on quotations from writers like Annie Dillard and Joan Didion can somewhat break up the narrative. Even if I might have preferred a more straightforward chronological account, I admired Palm’s experimentation with form.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Sian Lile-Pastore

    I really loved this memoir - I loved the writing style and pace of it. It also has a wonderful sense of place - living by the river, swampy-ness, fields of corn (particularly liked when she spends a summer picking corn) and alongside this the darkness - the poverty, mental illness and violence, which culminates in her neighbour/crush - Corey committing an horrific murder and ending up in jail. I particularly liked the first two thirds of the book which covered her childhood and college years - t I really loved this memoir - I loved the writing style and pace of it. It also has a wonderful sense of place - living by the river, swampy-ness, fields of corn (particularly liked when she spends a summer picking corn) and alongside this the darkness - the poverty, mental illness and violence, which culminates in her neighbour/crush - Corey committing an horrific murder and ending up in jail. I particularly liked the first two thirds of the book which covered her childhood and college years - the last third which was more current day stuff just didn't have the same quality to it.... Maybe she was just too close to it? I read it in three days - it's super readable and page turnery like a good novel. I loved her style, her smartness, her commentaries on poverty and criminal justice and I loved the way she worked through stuff here. I will definitely look out for more by her and am also really interested in books by this publisher - graywolf press.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Michelle

    "Riverine: A Memoir from Anywhere But Here" by Angela Palm recalls her heritage beginning in Hebron, Indiana near the Kankakee River. With beautifully written lyrical prose, Palm, a "bookish fisher-girl" tells the story of her river people, the men lining up to pass sandbags to protect home/neighborhoods from flooding. The Kankakee swamp stretching for 5,300 miles was the largest wetland in the U.S. The Land Act of 1850 was designed to convert this Indiana marsh into farmland, as the American po "Riverine: A Memoir from Anywhere But Here" by Angela Palm recalls her heritage beginning in Hebron, Indiana near the Kankakee River. With beautifully written lyrical prose, Palm, a "bookish fisher-girl" tells the story of her river people, the men lining up to pass sandbags to protect home/neighborhoods from flooding. The Kankakee swamp stretching for 5,300 miles was the largest wetland in the U.S. The Land Act of 1850 was designed to convert this Indiana marsh into farmland, as the American population began to occupy the heartland. The more affluent Dutch resided in the neighborhood away from the river. When the Dutch youth encountered the typical problems of growing up in a rural area, they were returned to their parents custody by police. Palm's nearby neighbor and her first love--Corey, didn't have this option. For his misdeeds he was harshly punished and sent to youth detention, and began a life of petty crime. Without the stability of a home and family life, he was eventually convicted of brutally murdering a neighborhood couple and sent to prison. This coming-of-age story unfolds as Palm connects her life to Corey's, and learned the truth/cause of his one desperate act that resulted in murder. Before attending college, Palm wanted to remain as long as possible among her people. Working at a bar/restaurant (where Corey has once worked) she credited her parents to her strong work ethic, and learned a great deal observing life around her. Winning scholarships and attending an unnamed college/university where Palm studied criminal justice and wrote unsent letters to Corey, she would eventually discontinue her education in law school. Palm married Mike, an airline pilot and moved to Vermont where the couple had two sons. Less was written about Palm's life as a wife and mother, as her main focus in the second part was about her prison visit with Corey, their reconnection, and how she fit Corey into her current life with Mike's consent/approval. As an unconventional story of love and family life, Palm illustrates how deeply we are connected to our past and how it can shape the future. ~ With thanks to the Seattle Public Library.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Kate

    Human beings’ dual capacity for compassion and brutality is the great paradox at the heart of the human condition. Despite the best efforts of religion, philosophy, psychology, and, more recently, particle physics to explain our ‘fallen’ state, the majority of us spend our lives merely skimming the surface of this granddaddy of all existential questions. We are moral automatons, acting within a system of behavior modeled for us by our family and culture, shaped by our experiences, and so ingrain Human beings’ dual capacity for compassion and brutality is the great paradox at the heart of the human condition. Despite the best efforts of religion, philosophy, psychology, and, more recently, particle physics to explain our ‘fallen’ state, the majority of us spend our lives merely skimming the surface of this granddaddy of all existential questions. We are moral automatons, acting within a system of behavior modeled for us by our family and culture, shaped by our experiences, and so ingrained in our subconscious that we’re barely aware of it working on us. We deny the blood lust that is intrinsic to our species and sleep secure in a web of imperfect laws written and enforced to preserve the fabric of our civilization. When we choose to confront our darkest selves, we do so vicariously, through movies, books and the news. Rarely do we undertake a deeper study or one closer to home. What we might bring to light would be too terrifying. Angela Palm has never been afraid of dark, abandoned spaces, and it is our good fortune that she is compelled to enter them now, to shed her light on what most of us prefer to ignore. In this coming of age memoir, she takes us with her to the condemned areas of the human heart as she tries to understand and reconcile the reasons behind a childhood friend’s impulse to murder. Along the way, she must come to terms with her own emotional limitations and the failings of our society to address the growing crisis of poverty in the United States. Resolute, even-handed and brimming with insight, Riverine is a harrowing coming of age story and a powerful meditation on the condition of the American conscience.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Mrs. Danvers

    My expectations were too high. Also, I didn't love the many references to other books and writers, which each time felt to me to be a way of substituting another writer's words for her own. There are no original stories - - the point is to tell the story in your own unique way. Anyway, I'm probably just cranky again because I expected more.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Susan Ritz

    Angela Palm has lived quite a life and she writes about it with intelligence and grace. Though I'm usually wary of memoirs by anyone under 50, this book shows a depth that I seldom find in memoirs by writers of any age. Palm weaves together her life story with literary allusions and insights into how lives that start at the same point can take such divergent paths yet remain closely tied by childhood memories and enduring love. Winner of the Graywolf Press award for Creative Non-fiction, well-de Angela Palm has lived quite a life and she writes about it with intelligence and grace. Though I'm usually wary of memoirs by anyone under 50, this book shows a depth that I seldom find in memoirs by writers of any age. Palm weaves together her life story with literary allusions and insights into how lives that start at the same point can take such divergent paths yet remain closely tied by childhood memories and enduring love. Winner of the Graywolf Press award for Creative Non-fiction, well-deserved. Now a bright light in Burlington Vermont's literary community, Palm grew up in Indiana surrounded by the Kankakee River and a community marked by the vicissitudes of nature and rural poverty. Her life-long love for the boy next door keeps her tied to a past she has managed to physically leave behind. She reflects on the quintessentially American question: how do some emerge from a rough, wild childhood with both scars and appreciation, while others remain trapped in a system stacked against them? Palm's coming-of-age tale is a beautifully written meditation that carries its readers along like a flowing river. Due out in late August.Don't miss it!

  7. 5 out of 5

    Sylvia

    Beautifully written,honest memoir. Best when Palm writes of her family growing up and her relationship with her childhood love. Sometimes the digressions were difficult to follow and pulled me away emotionally from the heart of the book.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Elizabeth Powell

    A page turner of lyrical prose that delves into the mysteries of the human condition. This book aches with beauty and a kind of redemption we don't always expect. Read this book now.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Kathrina

    This book sat 6 months on my shelf after being passed to me on a friend's recommendation. So glad I finally picked it up. This is a Graywolf winner, sitting in good company with some of my favorite creative nonfiction. Angela Palm tells her coming-of-age story from the interesting perspective of her own experience juxtaposed with her childhood sweetheart. Their lives diverge at a critical juncture in their teenage years, as she is just discovering how to craft her own identity from the resources This book sat 6 months on my shelf after being passed to me on a friend's recommendation. So glad I finally picked it up. This is a Graywolf winner, sitting in good company with some of my favorite creative nonfiction. Angela Palm tells her coming-of-age story from the interesting perspective of her own experience juxtaposed with her childhood sweetheart. Their lives diverge at a critical juncture in their teenage years, as she is just discovering how to craft her own identity from the resources she has, and he is consumed by a terrible mistake that changes his life -- their lives -- forever. He is sentenced to prison without parole, and Angela explores how a person she felt so close to could act in such a deplorable way, and still be a person worthy of her love and lifelong devotion. The author uses an interesting creative memoir form, cutting up her narrative arc with seemingly random digressions into literature, nature/place, physics, and musings from a variety of her own life experiences. The result is mostly very moving (though one chapter really stretched me too far -- The Robert Frost workshop).

  10. 4 out of 5

    Sigrun Hodne

    What a talent! A memoir, an essay - or both? Palm writes about a different kind of America, maybe the ordinary, but also very different from the BIG stories. I haven't read anything this good on a long-long time! I'm already looking forward to her next book ...

  11. 5 out of 5

    Kathleen Kirchner

    My thoughts on this book pretty much follow the table of contents. Part 1: Huh, this is interesting and pretty if a bit pretentious. Part 2: Okay really pretentious. We get it, you've read a bunch of books. Part 3: I literally hate everything about this story and threw the book down on my bed and wanted to wake up my husband to tell him about it. So...odd. Looking forward to discussing it in book club though!

  12. 4 out of 5

    Molly McCarty

    The palpable attraction - shit, the painfully obvious love - between the author and her incarcerated childhood neighbor, Corey, continues to tear at my heart days after I have put down this refreshingly honest memoir. This relationship is the heartbeat of the book. It pulses through Palm's description the Kankakee's dirty water, it wafts above the cheesesteak fries she serves. How can someone you love do something terrible and why doesn't this make your love disappear? This is a question with wh The palpable attraction - shit, the painfully obvious love - between the author and her incarcerated childhood neighbor, Corey, continues to tear at my heart days after I have put down this refreshingly honest memoir. This relationship is the heartbeat of the book. It pulses through Palm's description the Kankakee's dirty water, it wafts above the cheesesteak fries she serves. How can someone you love do something terrible and why doesn't this make your love disappear? This is a question with which I am acutely familiar. I have rarely seen this internal conflict rendered well, if at all, in literature and this has often made me feel very alone. The sensitive display of such utterly unsolvable conflict is the crowning achievement of this book. Then there is the drought that is the middle of this narrative, in which I slogged through page after Corey-less page, bored and yearning. Perhaps this is a reflection of the author's own life. Or perhaps the things we silently year for and grieve come alive on the page in a way that alive things do not. It's an excusable offense for a first book. And because Palm's voice is searching and authentic, and because her writing is good, I persevered. And I was rewarded by rich, lightening-veined descriptions of her prison visit at long last. These pages haunt me still, as does the cognitive dissonance within them. I will eagerly consume whatever Palm writes next.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Rory

    This book came into my sights because a friend knows the author and because the author grew up around the Kankakee River (a body of water that's a big deal where I'm currently living). It didn't move me or arrest me, like I always hope a book will. In fact, this book bummed me out. It made me think of the memoir I would write, if I ever got up the energy and courage. I'd write well enough, but without sureness or ease. I'd overestimate the pull of my tiny tragedies and the searing fascination of This book came into my sights because a friend knows the author and because the author grew up around the Kankakee River (a body of water that's a big deal where I'm currently living). It didn't move me or arrest me, like I always hope a book will. In fact, this book bummed me out. It made me think of the memoir I would write, if I ever got up the energy and courage. I'd write well enough, but without sureness or ease. I'd overestimate the pull of my tiny tragedies and the searing fascination of my most destructive relationships. I'd mince, and mewl, and bore. I wouldn't get out of my own way, wouldn't tell a story when I could Examine A Truth--it'd be painful, but not in a fun way. I'd probably come up with a great title, though, like Palm definitely did.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Karen

    Angela Palm's beautifully written memoir chronicles her life in rural Indiana, exploring the floodplains of her youth in conjunction with the undercurrent of violence that vibrates between the people and landscape of her world. When the boy next door commits murder, she flees into a life of art and intellect, only to discover that her past will never truly let go of her. Palm's memoir is not a list of chronological events, but rather a set of closely related lyrical essays that explore how the p Angela Palm's beautifully written memoir chronicles her life in rural Indiana, exploring the floodplains of her youth in conjunction with the undercurrent of violence that vibrates between the people and landscape of her world. When the boy next door commits murder, she flees into a life of art and intellect, only to discover that her past will never truly let go of her. Palm's memoir is not a list of chronological events, but rather a set of closely related lyrical essays that explore how the past is never really just the past, and that no matter what direction life takes us, the memories of our youth are never far behind.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Rachel

    I'm not sure exactly how to describe my feelings towards this book. Growing up in the same town but moving there in middle school, I get the feelings of being an outsider, "if you ain't Dutch you ain't much" was a common theme to growing up there; HOWEVER, I also have fond memories and good feelings towards that town and the people there. I have super mixed emotions about this book, but I enjoyed the read regardless. Very well written.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich

    Beautiful sentences, and a beautiful, layered, intricately crafted story. Palm gets at so many things in this book, from our understanding of home, to what love is as we grow up, and the divergent paths we take to become who we are. But mostly: those sentences! Recommended for curling up a cup of tea and a warm blanket, with a heart that's open to beauty.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Melissa

    Beautiful and evocative memoir. Palm focuses on how her childhood environment shaped herself as opposed to her friend Corey. The strength of the writing fades a bit in the last 50 pages but overall it is a very vivid and compelling work.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Autumn

    Beautifully written and personal without being navel-gazing.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Rachel

    We read this book for book club. I was happy to finish it with 15 minutes to spare before book club started! I have seriously mixed feelings on this book. My rating stems from being able to relate to the author A TON and also for her often great writing. Aside from that, it's kind of a hot mess. We read this book because it's set in the small town our book club's founder grew up in (she lived minutes away from where the author grew up), and where I now live. Reading something set in your town is We read this book for book club. I was happy to finish it with 15 minutes to spare before book club started! I have seriously mixed feelings on this book. My rating stems from being able to relate to the author A TON and also for her often great writing. Aside from that, it's kind of a hot mess. We read this book because it's set in the small town our book club's founder grew up in (she lived minutes away from where the author grew up), and where I now live. Reading something set in your town is super interesting and I enjoyed that aspect (especially as a recent transplant). Some issues brought up in book club that I agree with are: *This doesn't have very good flow. It reads like a series of essays... which turns out to be exactly what it started as when you read the end. It needed a lot of editing and polishing. Who directly quotes authors and then doesn't go on to expound and dissect?? THIS AUTHOR. CONSTANTLY. IT WAS WEIRD. (But she teaches writers workshops, somehow.) *This would have been more appropriate as a novel with a resolution. It was overwritten at times and very self indulgent. Hard to read it as a memoir. *The author is still super young, but you would think she's one foot in the grave. Also, 35 is not "almost 40". It seemed like a cheap way to stretch reality to make the story feel more seasoned. Nope. *We all had issues about how she never delved deeper into the relationship with her mother especially, her HUSBAND, or her actual CHILDREN. How she casually throws in her two BFFs that have been there for her all along... at the very end of the book. Where were Jen and Rachel before?? How convenient that she left out this detail. *It was odd what she shared and what she didn't. There were details we could have done without completely and then other things she never even mentioned. *She tries really hard to paint the picture that her family were hillbilly, backwater poor folk... don't agree with this at all. Based on my calculations it seems like her dad had her around 19/20, and yet by the time she was in college he PAID CASH for her tuition, and had really made a lot out of his life in a professional capacity. But it seems the author has no perspective or respect for that. She dwells on her dad as he was in his early 20s when he was parenting her. As someone who had a weird childhood, I can look back now and see the WHY of things when I put myself in my parents shoes. It doesn't make my childhood easier, but I can accept it now and forgive people. It doesn't seem like the author has made it there yet. And that begs the question... why are you writing a memoir?? *Oh yes. It's to exploit her relationship to a murderer that she just can't let go of. Again, I GET THIS (and oddly enough I know a murderer currently serving a sentence I could weave into my future memoir for sensationalism), but it seemed so overly romanticized. Since this is all super fresh, I'm interested in how this plays out in years to come. Corey has been in prison "almost 20 years", except not because his crime was committed in 1998 and that was only 19 years ago, and this was published in 2016, so again we are stretching numbers to give them weight. ANYWAY this was endlessly discussable and made for a GREAT book club.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Bookish

    I love what this memoir has to say about finding your own unique home. Angela Palm grew up in rural Indiana. Despite feeling like she never really belonged, she went to college in-state, and stuck around after graduation. As a grad with no idea where I wanted to end up, I was motivated by how she made the decision to finally move. She traveled around to a few different cities, looking for a place that inspired her. She eventually settled in Burlington, Vermont, not because she had any ties there I love what this memoir has to say about finding your own unique home. Angela Palm grew up in rural Indiana. Despite feeling like she never really belonged, she went to college in-state, and stuck around after graduation. As a grad with no idea where I wanted to end up, I was motivated by how she made the decision to finally move. She traveled around to a few different cities, looking for a place that inspired her. She eventually settled in Burlington, Vermont, not because she had any ties there, but because she loved its position, between a lake and mountains. Palm’s description of that move made me feel like the whole world was open to me; that I could go anywhere if I was willing to take a risk. —Caroline (https://www.bookish.com/articles/five...)

  21. 4 out of 5

    Andy Cortez

    Great Read. It really puts you in Palm's perspective. I really like the fact that we actually get to see things from her childhood and how she felt. What really surprised is how open she is talking about herself and her family, it must've been kind of hard writing down such emotions and feelings in the memoir. Also the many references to other works that somehow relate to what she is talking about Overall a solid read.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Jade

    Read for my Defense Against the Dark Arts O.W.L 2019 (reducto: read a title starting with R). A wondrous memoir both intimate and broad which details the pull of growing up and straying away and the call back of home by the sounds of winding rivers and the never-ending cornfields of your childhood. "Whoever we were before does not matter so much here. We bow to green knolls now. We are mountain high. We find ourselves ankle deep in streams, lost in make-believe, and choking on milkweed."

  23. 4 out of 5

    Gail Kennon

    i have very little sense of her as a person, her family, the river or of corey as a boy. the largest sense i have is of her as a very beloved waitress.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Alexis

    I admire this book so much—for its technical and emotional acumen. Kafka famously said, “We need books that affect us like a disaster, that grieve us deeply, like the death of someone we loved more than ourselves, like being banished into forests far from everyone, like a suicide. A book must be the axe for the frozen sea within us.” I favor such grievous reading. I want to be moved, I want blunt-force trauma to the head and heart. Riverine is both; the book had me puzzling over technical and fo I admire this book so much—for its technical and emotional acumen. Kafka famously said, “We need books that affect us like a disaster, that grieve us deeply, like the death of someone we loved more than ourselves, like being banished into forests far from everyone, like a suicide. A book must be the axe for the frozen sea within us.” I favor such grievous reading. I want to be moved, I want blunt-force trauma to the head and heart. Riverine is both; the book had me puzzling over technical and formal maneuvers and making me swoon at its beauty and keen pathos. Formally inventive and playful, the memoir is rich with place identity, from the author's hardscrabble Indiana hometown to the menacing pastoral of Vermont. The book’s central river, the Kankakee, figures as a literal, metaphorical, and even stylistic force. Palm seems driven to map not only places but also individual subjects and how they fit together, deliciously and obsessively cataloging subjects ranging from sex offender registries to entropy to cultural violence to desire to eminent domain. So many ranging curiosities and events come together, as if the narrator understands the larger world through the act of putting it together fragment by fragment. Riverine is a fascinating and beautiful collage of these fragments, which dissolve--as if by the writer's very care and force of mind--into a larger, stirring portrait of self, culture, country, and landscape: “Like rivers, people are always folding back on themselves, and then straightening again. Contradicting themselves. Pulling off a bluff even as they try to begin anew, and then collapsing back onto the past” (Palm 20).

  25. 5 out of 5

    Rena Graham

    A beautifully written memoir, it would have gained an extra star had it been more concise with a tighter timeline. The story wandered like the river she writes so lovingly about at the beginning of the book and not until the prison scene towards the end of the book, did I really feel the depth of connection to Corey and how it had dictated her life's direction. Exquisite language throughout, there were a few sentences I didn't completely understand but didn't even care. She quotes other writers A beautifully written memoir, it would have gained an extra star had it been more concise with a tighter timeline. The story wandered like the river she writes so lovingly about at the beginning of the book and not until the prison scene towards the end of the book, did I really feel the depth of connection to Corey and how it had dictated her life's direction. Exquisite language throughout, there were a few sentences I didn't completely understand but didn't even care. She quotes other writers quite a bit and I could feel her growing as a writer herself as she dug deeper into her own story in that way. I would have liked more physical detail of the people she wrote about - the ones who had the most impact were hard to create a picture of. Likewise with some of the more important settings as an adult. Overall, an enjoyable read.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Lisa Kusel

    I could write a 10-page review describing how much I loved this book, but I don't have the time. I read this book as if it were an expensive indulgent box of chocolates...a little at a time, so that I could savor each bite, each moment, each taste of beauty. I feel smarter having read Ms. Palm's story. I lost myself in her brain, its incessant meanderings and ruminations and elegiacal interpretations of the worlds she inhabited. The saga of Corey resonated with me on so many levels: the lost one I could write a 10-page review describing how much I loved this book, but I don't have the time. I read this book as if it were an expensive indulgent box of chocolates...a little at a time, so that I could savor each bite, each moment, each taste of beauty. I feel smarter having read Ms. Palm's story. I lost myself in her brain, its incessant meanderings and ruminations and elegiacal interpretations of the worlds she inhabited. The saga of Corey resonated with me on so many levels: the lost one true love. There were countless times I silently uttered, "Yes! So true....I feel the same way..." It was almost as if, for much of the book, she were channeling my own thoughts and views and experiences. I guess that's why I so adored the book. I just published a memoir myself, and the best comments from readers were those that said how much they could relate to my story. I could so relate to this story on so many levels, yet, the writing was so skilled and tight and lovely that I often found myself with my jaw agape, in awe of its unflinching grace and intelligence. Brilliant. Bravo.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Katherine

    Riverine, the memoir of a woman who grew up in a former wetland in Indiana and loved the boy next door, who ended up in prison, was not dissimilar from many other female memoirs I have read. It is not Angela Palm's fault, but the path of growing up and finding self--"parents did bad things and/or I did bad things, I felt strange where I was and I had secret thoughts and surely nobody understood me"--has been well-trodden. What makes Riverine unique is the distinct sense of place, the geography a Riverine, the memoir of a woman who grew up in a former wetland in Indiana and loved the boy next door, who ended up in prison, was not dissimilar from many other female memoirs I have read. It is not Angela Palm's fault, but the path of growing up and finding self--"parents did bad things and/or I did bad things, I felt strange where I was and I had secret thoughts and surely nobody understood me"--has been well-trodden. What makes Riverine unique is the distinct sense of place, the geography and mud and corn of the Kankakee River and surroundings, and then of course the deep unrequited love between the narrator and the boy next door. Though troubled and the boy ends up in a bad place, it's worth getting to the end where after pages of... rambling... Palm bites back into the meat of the story and what HAPPENED with this guy. Did he remember her? Did he ever care about her? Did he know how she felt? This part didn't get old for me at all but was fresh and gripping.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Chris Roberts

    A memoir is the progression and attempted amplification of the banal. Memoirs die fast, lies linger longer. It is what I call the buyer beware genre. The memorist lives a life grasping for metaphors and or relevancy. Heritage writing is breathtakingly boring. How can the reader care more about the writer's family than the author? Sister, I don't give a damn about inmate #00000000, where you came to reside, your hair color, the everyday of yesterday, the pretty orange/red tulip you picked, your mea A memoir is the progression and attempted amplification of the banal. Memoirs die fast, lies linger longer. It is what I call the buyer beware genre. The memorist lives a life grasping for metaphors and or relevancy. Heritage writing is breathtakingly boring. How can the reader care more about the writer's family than the author? Sister, I don't give a damn about inmate #00000000, where you came to reside, your hair color, the everyday of yesterday, the pretty orange/red tulip you picked, your means of conveyance or whether hiccuping does or doesn't make you horny. Chris Roberts, Sudden God

  29. 5 out of 5

    Penny

    **Goodreads Giveaway** I think it's a brave thing for anyone to examine their life and write about the past with honesty and authenticity. I really wish I could give this book a better rating, because so much of it was beautifully written, and left me wishing I could write my own story. But for every passage that was achingly poetic, there was another that I found mind-numbingly dull. In the end, I felt that the writing tried too hard in places, and I was left with the feeling that the author was **Goodreads Giveaway** I think it's a brave thing for anyone to examine their life and write about the past with honesty and authenticity. I really wish I could give this book a better rating, because so much of it was beautifully written, and left me wishing I could write my own story. But for every passage that was achingly poetic, there was another that I found mind-numbingly dull. In the end, I felt that the writing tried too hard in places, and I was left with the feeling that the author was trying to prove how smart she is. I'm glad I took the time to read it, but it isn't a book I will keep for my collection.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Emily Arnason

    Riverine is steeped in the heritage of landscape and place; it follows the heart of the river of Palm's childhood, intertwining tragedy and triumph as she makes her way from girlhood to woman, writer, mother, and cultural critic. Palm brilliantly twines the forces of memory, subversive politics, narrative, and page-turning story into a book that announces her as one of our culture's leading voices on the human experience in the modern era. I look forward to more from this author!

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