Stony River

Stony River

Book - 2012
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Stony River, New Jersey, 1955: On a sweltering June afternoon, Linda Wise and Tereza Dobra witness a disturbing scene. A pale, pretty girl who looks about their age is taken from Crazy Haggerty's house by two uniformed policemen. Everyone in Stony River thought Crazy Haggerty lived alone. The pale, pretty girl is about to enter an alien world, and as Tereza and Linda try to make sense of what they've seen, they're unaware their own lives will soon be shattered as well.

Set in a decade we tend to think of as a more innocent time, Stony River shows in dramatic and unexpected ways how perilous it was to come of age in the 1950s with its absent mothers, controlling fathers, biblical injunctions, teenaged longing, and small-town pretence. The threat of sexual violence is all around: angry fathers at home, dirty boys in the neighbourhood, strange men in strange cars, a dead girl, and another gone missing.

An engrossing novel about growing up, finding your voice, and forgiving your family, Stony River is a brilliant story from a remarkable new Canadian voice.

Publisher: Toronto : Penguin, c2012.
ISBN: 9780143182474
Characteristics: 350 p. :,ill., map ;,23 cm.


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Aug 12, 2013

The story starts out promising but at the halfway mark I felt like the author had yet to come up with a powerful conflict/mystery to keep me in page turning mode. The characters she created had potential to be more interesting than they became. Go into this book with low expectations and you might just enjoy it.

brianreynolds Jan 25, 2013

There is much to recommend in Tricia Dower's <i>Stony River</i>, starting with the writing. Her prose is both readable and well paced; the detail regarding her setting (the Fifties) and character backgrounds (especially Irish Wicca) is both interesting and educational, and she integrates this "background music" into her story with great skill. It is the story, as usual however, that intrigues me the most. Three young unlikely female heroes manage, with the help of older wiser female characters, to overcome male daemons (overprotective parents, child abusers, psychopaths, and religious zealots) and achieve self-understanding and fulfillment. It's a good storyline, more comedy than romance, in terms of structure. It definitely has the God-bless-us-everyone ending expected in comedy; the elements of daring-do from romance kept me turning pages. As much as the 1950s were, for me, an idle of tranquility, they were also a time when women were not allowed to run more than 800m for fear they would damage themselves, Joe McCarthy's maniacal jingoism terrorized the media, and African Americans were required to use separate drinking fountains. Revisiting my youth without those greater evils was a comfort, but it was also a cold comfort: three well-woven tales of success in a tapestry which time has shown was marred with oppression and failure. Did I expect more? Not necessarily. Since the male obstacles portrayed--while they seem small in comparison to the institutional villains of the time--are still problems today, perhaps the message is: we haven't progressed as far as we might have hoped in the past sixty years--more ironic than comic to me.

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