Reviews of Blue River (1996)
Review by michael a draper (2010-12-07)
This is the story of a relationship between two brothers.
In his younger days, Edward admired his adventurous, dare-devil brother, Lawrence, who was six years older than Edward.
Years pass. Lawrence leaves home and hasn't been seen for fifteen years. Then like a Prodigal brother, he shows up at Edward's home,unannounced and in need of food and clothing.
Edward has become a successful eye surgeon in California while Lawrence is an out of work card dealer from Nevada.
We don't know the purpose of Lawrence's visit. However, it seems as if he may want to re-establish a relationship with his brother.
Lawrence does win over Edward's five-year-old son Jonathan's affection. Lawrence acts insanely with Jonathan, flopping on the kitchen floor or making monkey noises while on an outing at a local zoo. Jonathan may enjoy Lawrence but Edward is skeptical.
Then, in a revealing moment, Lawrence asks his brother if he can stay for a while. Callously, Edward refuses. Edward gives him money and drives him to the bus station.
The story goes on. When Edward sees his brothe go, he begins thinking of the earlier days with Lawrence.
Nothing really happens in this novel. Edward is a passive, sermonizing character and Lawrence is a Machiavellian, out for whatever thrill he can get.
The novel had mixed reviews and I continued to read, expecting the story to improve. It didn't. Cardboard characters, uninteresting plot and a novel without a message. Need I say more?
(This review refers to the 1996 version titled “Blue River”)