Thursday, February 4, 2010

review: eternal on the water by joseph monninger

Eternal on the Water has a very heavy subject--the right to die--at the heart of its plot. That issue, however, is never really addressed as everyone simply accepts the decision. The author instead focuses on the love story which is not all that interesting or even believable. Mary and Cobb meet while on separate camping trips that turn into a joint trip as an instant mutual attraction is sparked on the first night even though Mary immediately reveals an odd personality (asking if Cobb's a bear, going on about corvids) and indulges on Cobb's food. Cobb is supposed to be following Thoreau's Allagash trip and writing about it while on sabbatical from the prep school where he's a teacher. Although he makes part of trip, he mostly abandons it in order to spend more time with Mary who reveals she may have Huntington's though she refuses the genetic testing that would provide the answer. Even so, Cobb sticks with her. They travel together and make a home as Mary starts to exhibit symptoms. The final pages fast forward until moments before the discovery of Mary's body from the prologue. The highlights of Eternal on the Water are not Mary and Cobb who I couldn't garner sympathy for since they behaved recklessly during Mary's employment at Yellowstone; the highlights are the minor characters--the Chungamunga Girls and Francis, in particular.
ARC Review
Review copy provided as part of the Barnes and Noble First Look program.

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