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Review of "All Rivers Flow to the Sea"

By Alison McGhee
Candlewick, 2005
Review by Patricia Ball on Aug 15th 2006
All Rivers Flow to the Sea

This a heart rendering story of a girl in her grief who spirals to the depths of despair before she learns to let go and move on with her life.

An unfortunate accident keeps happening in seventeen-year-old Roses mind; the car crash on the mountain road and her older sister Ivy behind the wheel. As she sits next to Ivy's bedside listening to the whish of the respirator keeping her alive, the story keeps replaying.

Her mother refuses to visit Ivy at the hospital and spends her days working at the brewing factory and nights weaving potholders and folding paper cranes. She refuses to talk about the accident and is emotionally unavailable to Rose.

William T. makes an appearance; he is an older neighbor who helps Rose navigate through her grief by offering bits of spiritual guidance. Rose and William make the daily effort to sit by Ivy's bed. As Rose reads to Ivy she senses that there are rivers inside her threatening to overflow their banks.

Rose takes to meeting boys at the gorge and doing anything they want; just to feel something-anything-else. As her mind drifts away like a hovering bird, watching her actions below. She just wants to feel again even if the feeling is hurt.

All Rivers Flow to the Sea is a book about a philosophical journey to find solace in family and understanding the grieving process. It's a philosophical look at loss and the re-establishing of identity. While it is a difficult book to read and not very upbeat, it is an insightful work that will touch the hearts of its readers.


2006 Patricia Ball

Patricia Ball, B.A., applies the following descriptions to herself:

  • Research Chemist for 23 years
  • BA degree in Biology, Elms College
  • Recent graduate of Institute of Children's Literature
  • Wife and Mother of two
  • Published Poet/Writer
  • Enjoy composing music, art, writing, reading
  • Interested in Metaphysics, Psychology and Science
  • Enjoy traveling:  USA, Canada and Europe