The Banks of Certain Rivers

The Banks of Certain Rivers

by Jon Harrison

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Overview

In the lakeside resort town of Port Manitou, Michigan, dedicated teacher and running coach Neil Kazenzakis shoulders responsibilities that would break a lesser man: a tragic accident has left his wife seriously debilitated, he cares for his mother-in-law who suffers from dementia, and he’s raising his teenage son, Chris, on his own. On top of all that, he’s also secretly been seeing Lauren, his mother-in-law’s caregiver.

When Neil breaks up a fight one day after school, he doesn’t give the altercation much thought. He’s got bigger issues on his mind, like the fact that Lauren is ready for a commitment and he has to figure out a way to tell Chris that he’s in a serious relationship with someone other than the boy’s mother. But when an anonymous person uploads a video of the fight to YouTube, the stunning footage suggests Neil assaulted a student. With his job, his family, and his reputation suddenly in jeopardy, Neil must prove his innocence and win back the trust of the entire community—including his son’s.

Jon Harrison’s The Banks of Certain Rivers is a powerful tale of family, loss, and the meaning of love.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781477825235
Publisher: Amazon Publishing
Publication date: 09/23/2014
Pages: 357
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.20(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

Born in Michigan, Jon Harrison studied English literature and geological sciences at Ohio University. A lover of the outdoors, he moved to Jackson Hole, Wyoming, in 1994 and has lived there ever since.

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The Banks of Certain Rivers 4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 6 reviews.
DaneWeimMama More than 1 year ago
This was a fantastic book. I wasn't sure that I wanted to read it based on the blurb describing it but I joined a book club & this is the book we were reading & I'm so glad! Complex story, great characters, one of those books you stay up way too late reading.
Sandradee632 More than 1 year ago
I truly enjoyed reading this story; in fact I could not wait to find out what happened!! I liked the characters and the way that the author wrote! I cannot believe that this is his first book!! I will definitely recommend this book to my friends! I truly enjoyed reading this story; in fact I could not wait to find out what happened!! I liked the characters and the way that the author wrote! I cannot believe that this is his first book!! I will definitely recommend this book to my friends! 
macjam47 More than 1 year ago
THE BANKS OF CERTAIN RIVERS will draw you in immediately with its backstory where we meet Neil Kazenzakis (Mr. K), husband, father, friend, teacher, coach. It is here that we learn first of his wife Wendy and son Chris, and the terrible accident that Wendy has in a swimming pool that left her in a permanent comatose state. Their son Chris, an eighth grader, witnessed the accident.   We move forward a few years and find that Neil has more to deal with than seems humanly possible.  His wife Wendy remains in a nursing home, he and Chris both are still struggling to move on, and he is caring for his mother-in-law Carol, while at the same time, maintaining her home.  On top of everything else, Neil has fallen in love with Lauren, the nurse taking care of Carol.  Neil must tell Chris, but fears it is more than a young person can handle given the state of his mother’s health.  Add to all this is a video that went viral showing Mr. K knocking a student to the ground. Can he prove his innocence and that the video is a fake?  With his job and reputation on the line and Chris’ loss of respect for him after Neil tells him he has been in a relationship for two years, Neil feels his life is spiraling out of control. With the determination and help of understanding and caring friends, Neil is able to move forward. I don’t like spoilers, and this book is difficult to talk about without revealing too much. It is well written with a plot that will keep you turning the pages. It is about love and redemption, loyalty and trust.  It is about putting what life throws at you into the proper perspective and getting on with one’s life.  The characters were so well developed that I felt an immediate bond with each one.  I wanted Wendy to recover, and at first didn’t like Lauren because I felt she stood in the way of that recovery. I wanted to hug Chris and help him through the murky waters of grief, sadness, distrust, and disappointment.  It was so much to put upon a teenager.   There is no doubt in my mind that this is a five star book.  Once I started reading, I was unable to put it down.  With so many layers to the story and personalities elaborated so beautifully, this is one book I wholeheartedly recommend. About the Author Born in Michigan, Jon Harrison studied English literature and geological sciences at Ohio University. A lover of the outdoors, he moved to Jackson Hole, Wyoming, in 1994 and has lived there ever since. When not writing, he enjoys skiing, running, and climbing. The Banks of Certain Rivers is his first novel.
Splashesintobooks1 More than 1 year ago
You really have to feel for poor Neil in this story - his life seems to be one roller coaster of bad luck. with one thing after another going wrong for him! He is a teacher and the story starts by telling what happened when he went away on a course with his wife and son . . . . It continues on relating the seemingly every day events in the life of a teacher without warning you of the dire consequences of part of this. (Sorry, not going to give any spoilers away here!) The story is well written, starts slowly but builds up to a dramatic crescendo! This book is a page turner, with characters that are easy to empathise and relate to and events, twists and turns that could so easily tear their lives apart. A very original story that pulls at the heart strings. Thanks to the author, publisher and NetGalley for enabling me to read a copy of this in exchange for an honest review.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is such a good book. The writing is so easy to dive into, the story is well told, the characters very believable and likeable. I felt my emotions rising and falling with the trials and travails of Neil. I was definitely hooked after just a few pages and didn't want to put it down. I was lucky enough to have read it last year and I am halfway into a second reading. Quite possibly my favorite new read of 2013. I highly recommend.
quaintinns More than 1 year ago
Jon Harrison’s debut novel, The Banks of Certain Rivers is a mixture of family drama, tragedy, humor, love and loss. One man’s heartbreaking, moving and emotional story, as it spins out of control, and in the midst of extraordinary circumstances, life changing decisions in a fragile world. In the lakeside resort town of Port Manitou, Michigan, dedicated teacher and running coach Neil Kazenzakis is in the midst of a melt-down (he deserves it). While vacationing with his family, (Wendy–wife, Chris-son), an accident, leaving his wife seriously debilitated. He is left alone to care for his teenage son, Chris, his wife, he also has the burden of caring for his mother-in-law who suffers from dementia and to further complicate matters—he is secretly dating Lauren, his mother-in-law’s caregiver. So, now life must go on in the midst of tragedy. Time does not stand still. Years later, Wendy is in long term care, and is not responsive. Carol, Wendy's mother, isn't well and she lives next door to them. While the secret relationship heats up between him and Lauren, he knows he has to find a way to tell his son. When Lauren discovers she is pregnant – it is imperative he bring the relationship out in the open. Too add fuel to the fire, he is breaking up a fight at school, and someone videos it, making it appear as though he was involved, questioning his integrity as a teacher. It goes viral and now he is close to losing it all, as he has to prove his innocence. With the emails, twists and turns, and slow building suspense, the novel’s voice told from Neil’s point of view, allowing the reader to experience firsthand the hard choices, a caregiver, memories from the past, the turmoil of the present and the uncertainty of the future – there is much depth, and emotion from this flawed realistic character. Jon Harrison’s The Banks of Certain Rivers is a beautiful and funny debut novel, and look forward to reading more!