Book Review of Rock Needs River
This book was a bit of an emotional rollercoaster for me. I started off loving it — couldn’t put down — then toward the middle I grew frustrated and almost deleted it, but I decided to push through and I’m glad that I did.
I enjoyed the writing style, each page filled with a gritty sort of honesty that makes me feel uncomfortable and cringe inside, yet draws me in more. You can feel the author’s pain and longing as she realizes that she wants to become a mother while barreling through several failed romantic relationships. Despite some misgivings, I began rooting for her and hoped that she could get it together and make her dreams of a child come true.
When she is unable to have her own biological child, she, along with her husband, adopts her daughter from a couple experiencing homelessness. Much of the book explores her unraveling relationships with her spouse and her child’s biological parents.
While beautifully written, I often found myself wanting to shake the protagonist due to a lack of self-awareness and her occasional bad behavior. I wish this was a work of fiction instead of a memoir because I think it would have quelled my anxiety over how this book might damage her relationship with her loved ones in real life, and my concern that her daughter’s story isn’t hers to tell.
While this book posits itself as an open adoption story, I would argue it centers more on Vanessa McGrady’s winding journey toward and complicated feelings about becoming a mother. And she seems to be a very good one at that. She’s a fiercely loving and protective mother, which redeems the more complicated, flawed, and frustrating parts of herself that she puts forth in this book.
Read this book for free!
I downloaded Rock Needs River through Amazon’s First Reads. Each month, Prime subscribers get early access to new releases and can typically download one or two books for free. It’s how I found two of my favorite books from last year!
No Kindle? No problem! I actually read this book on my iPhone app.