BookBrowse Reviews Once Upon a River by Bonnie Jo Campbell

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reviews |  Beyond the book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

Once Upon a River

By Bonnie Jo Campbell

Once Upon a River
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

     Not Yet Rated
  • Hardcover: Jul 2011,
    352 pages.
    Paperback: Jun 2012,
    352 pages.

    Publication Information

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
Marnie Colton

Buy This Book

About this Book

Reviews

Meet 16-year-old Margo Crane, an unforgettable modern-day Annie Oakley

It's too bad that Oprah's Book Club is now defunct, because Once Upon a River would make an ideal candidate for it. Whether this strikes you as an enticement or a deterrent depends on your enthusiasm for all-American pluck and grit in the face of obstacles thrown in with a dash of sex and a heap of tragedy, all in service to that glow of redemption waiting at the end. A cynic might claim that Campbell has meticulously crossed off each item on the Oprah-approved checklist: Self-reliant heroine navigating adolescence amidst poverty and family dysfunction? Check. Colorful yet familiar characters either imparting back porch wisdom or attempting to squash our heroine's dreams? Check. Hardscrabble rural setting that nonetheless offers glimpses of beauty to those able to weather its harsh vicissitudes? Check. Yet while Once Upon a River does occasionally come close to leaning on clich...

Could One Shot Have Prevented World War I?
When Margo shoots the cigarette out of a man's mouth she is following in the footsteps of her heroine Annie Oakley who, most sources agree, shot the ash off the end of Kaiser Wilhelm II's cigarette while performing in front of Queen Victoria and other European royalty. This act, around 25 years before World War I, led some to later comment that if only Oakley had shot the Kaiser and not his cigarette, she could have prevented World War I. Apparently, after the outbreak of WWI, Oakley sent a letter to the Kaiser requesting a second shot. She did not receive a reply.

Members Only

BookBrowse's reviews and backstories are a members-only benefit. Full information is available on books for a limited time when they are featured as "Editor's Choices" - but that time has now elapsed for this book.

Find Out More
Member Benefits

Join Now!

Check the advantages!
Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year

    •  
    • FREE
    • MEMBER
    • Range of media reviews for each book
    • Excerpts of all featured books
    • Author bios, interviews and pronunciations
    • Browse by genre
    • Book club discussions
    • Book club advice and reading guides
    • BookBrowse reviews and "beyond the book" back-stories
    •  
    • Reviews of notable books ahead of publication
    •  
    • Free books to read and review (US Only)
    •  
    • Browse for the best books by time period, setting & theme
    •  
    • Read-alike suggestions for thousands of books and authors
    •  
    • 'My Reading List" to keep track of your books
    •  
Sign up, win books!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: A Man Called Ove
    A Man Called Ove
    by Fredrik Backman
    Reading A Man Called Ove was like having Christmas arrive early. Set in Sweden, this debut novel is ...
  • Book Jacket
    The Search
    by Geoff Dyer
    All hail the independent publisher! In May 2014, Graywolf Press brought two of long-revered British ...
  • Book Jacket
    Mrs. Hemingway
    by Naomi Wood
    Naomi Wood's latest novel, Mrs. Hemingway, is a fictionalized biography covering in turn writer...

First Impressions

Members read and review books ahead
of publication. See what they think
in First Impressions!

Books that
expand your
horizons.

Visitors can view a lot of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only

Find out more.

Book Discussions
Book Jacket

The Arsonist
by Sue Miller

Published Jun. 2014

Join the discussion!

  1.  167The City:
    Dean Koontz
  2.  115Tomlinson Hill:
    Chris Tomlinson

All Discussions

Win this book!
Win The Angel of Losses

The Angel of Losses

"Family saga, mystery, and myth intersect in Feldman's debut novel." - Booklist

Enter

Word Play

Solve this clue:

E C H A Silver L

and be entered to win..

Books thatinspire you.Handpicked.

Books you'll stay up all night reading; books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, books that will expand your mind and inspire you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.