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The Bibliophiles Society on The Patience of Rivers

The Bibliophiles Society, whose members live and work in the greater Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania area, meet once a month for books and dining. The group was founded in 1997 by Jennifer Kelly and Joan Gregory, and now includes eight members from various professions: real estate, education, business planning, accounting, and employee benefits.

Bibliophiles, standing from left, Ruth Smith, Sally Rothstein, author Joseph Freda, Molly Shaughnessy; seated from left, Dave Munoz, Jennifer Kelly, Joan Gregory. Taking the photo is Kathy McCormack.

The Bibliophiles held their discussion of The Patience of Rivers in the gracious setting of Grico's Restaurant in Exeter, and owner Pat Greenfield sat in on part of the meeting. The group enjoyed the nature writing in the novel, as well as the Sixties setting and the coming-of-age themes. Here's what they have to say:

Joan: Whenever you read a book you allow many people into your life to stay for a while and sometimes they move in and never leave. Nick, his family, friends and foes have strong personalities and certainly drive the story forward, but my heart belonged to Charlie – start to finish. Perhaps loved by his family but not nurtured, he tries to emulate his father's bravado, capturing the attention of many a young girl while doing his father one better and maintaining a close, honest realtionship with Nick. But in the end he seems unable to cope with the reality of the changes that are occuring in his life. For me Charlie has become a symbol of the wandering souls of our world.

Kathy: The book was wonderful! For me, it revived many memories. I lived in that area raising a young family during that period. Who could forget the sensational event of the Woodstock Festival and the anticipation of the annual Canoe Regatta? Joe Freda is truly a gifted story teller. The very moving title "The Patience of Rivers" could not be more appropriate. The book with its most memorable cover will remain on my reading table for a long time.

Jennifer: This story of a family living on the banks of the Delaware River flows like the river, sometimes gently and at other times, tumultuously, with unexpected results. Of all the characters in the story, Nick's mother, Kit, a spirited woman, intrigued me most. Fitting into an unexpected way of life, she bore her share of the responsibility by running the stables, keeping her distance from the local colorful characters. In the end, the pressure of events in her life erupted like the river in a turbulent and unexpected way.

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