Often times, coming-of-age stories are told from the protagonist’s point of view while he or she is going through his or her adventure. However, there are the few stories where the protagonist tells someone younger of the point in his or her earlier days that changed his or her life and, in a way, forced him or her to grow up. One such rare story can be found in Bob Rich’s Looking Through Water. The fifth book he has ever written, but his first attempt at writing fiction, Rich has published a story any reader of any age will enjoy.
William McKay has always found answers and peace while fishing. When his grandson, Kyle, arrives to him with more of a burden than his young shoulders can handle, William takes Kyle out on the water to share with his grandson a story of his own. William relives a story from when he was a young man that forced him to let bygones be bygones and changed his life forever. Hopefully, a grandfather’s past memory can aid a grandson’s present struggle.
For his first work of fiction, Rich does an exceptional job at telling a story. Readers will most certainly be affected differently depending on their age. Younger readers will feel as if they are Kyle with their own grandfather telling them a story from their youth. Older readers will feel as if they are William, sharing their wisdom and stories of their lives with their own grandchildren. People thrive on stories, both verbal and written, and being put into the position of listener/ reader or storyteller/ writer is a very memorable moment to experience.
When it comes to the writing style, Rich has a wonderfully smooth one. The story does not move fast, nor does it move slowly. The story itself seems to move at a quick pace, but also contains enough detail to paint a very nice picture in a reader’s mind, thus making an enjoyable read for both the skim reader and the slow reader. Unless told otherwise, readers would never know that Looking Through Water is Rich’s first attempt at writing a fiction work.
The story does an excellent job at jumping back and forth between past and present. There is no confusion to the reader as to what time period one is reading in. There are also very few characters which makes all of the characters easy to follow. It is a breath of fresh air to discover that the story is not a predictable one, giving readers looking for something new more than enough reason to pick up Rich’s most recent work.
Coming-of-age stories will always be popular. Stories such as Life of Pi, The Neverending Story, The Outsiders, and The Graveyard Book are but a few of the more well-known coming-of-age stories in the present world. Looking Through Water could easily be added to this ever-growing list. It is a unique story that is quick, yet detailed, unpredictable, well-written, and a memorable story for readers of any age. For Rich’s first attempt at writing fiction, he does a great job at keeping a reader intrigued and, hopefully, there will be more works of fiction to come from this talented writer in the future.