Book Review: ‘River Under The Road’ Should Stay Underneath The Road

From the bestselling, critically acclaimed author of ‘Man in the Woods’ and ‘Endless Love,’ a stunning, stinging portrait of class and creativity and the double-edged sword of success.

Author Scott Spencer has created a story that is presented to the reader utilizing 13 parties between the years 1976 to 1990. The central characters are Thaddeus Kaufman, son of booksellers and his love interest, Grace Cornell, who aspires to create art while Thaddeus has dreams of being a writer. The other two main characters are Jennings Stratton and his wife Muriel Sanchez, a policeman’s daughter. They head for New York to make their fortune and the goodbye brunch is given by Thaddeus’ parents, Sam and Libby Kaufman, who really don’t like their son, and believe me, at the end of the day, if you are anything like me, you are going to dislike all of the characters in this rambling story of success, lack of success, and the bitter pill of not being recognized, which turns Grace into a self-pitying nag. I detested their whole attitude to life.

The parties show no continuity, you can sink or swim if you’re looking for a story to sink your teeth into. Jennings and Muriel make a right pair, he’s is the local lothario, willing to bed any woman that will have him, so do he and Grace do the deed? By the time you find out the truth of the matter, you don’t care one way or the other.

The people who live on the pages of this story are well-drawn but the irritating thing is author Spencer gives backstories to a lot of them and then they are never heard of again. I get it, that is the way parties go but it was so boring and unnecessary. I understand that it takes time and tremendous effort to write a novel and I applaud the endeavor here but I honestly don’t know what to do with this yarn. It has touches of descriptive genius that can blow you away but that being said, the book overall, didn’t make the same impression. ‘River Under the Road’ is a hard read and ends almost in mid-sentence. What!?!

Available now in bookstores

Ann McDonald

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