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Customer Reviews for

Eternal on the Water

Average Rating 4
( 179 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(73)

4 Star

(67)

3 Star

(25)

2 Star

(11)

1 Star

(3)

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

A Glimpse of the Eternal

This is an excellent book. The characters are interesting, the plot a real tear jerker, but what is most important for me is the beautiful writing. Monninger brings his natural settings to life. The emotion evoked by the power of his writing about nature is what drives ...
This is an excellent book. The characters are interesting, the plot a real tear jerker, but what is most important for me is the beautiful writing. Monninger brings his natural settings to life. The emotion evoked by the power of his writing about nature is what drives the story for me.

Deciding to set this tragic love story in such beautiful, yet harsh places make the theme obvious. The world is beautiful and terrible at the same time. We have to appreciate the beauty and live to the fullest with the tragedy and cruelty.

I highly recommend this book. It's not an escapist fantasy. It says something about honor and living a productive life.

posted by nfam on January 25, 2010

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Most Helpful Critical Review

5 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

Not so eternal per this reader

Although I really wanted to love this book, I am sad to say that it just didn't happen for me. Love at first sight may be a very real thing, and based on most readers reviewing the book, it is evident that I am in the minority. I knew it would be a tear jerker and I w...
Although I really wanted to love this book, I am sad to say that it just didn't happen for me. Love at first sight may be a very real thing, and based on most readers reviewing the book, it is evident that I am in the minority. I knew it would be a tear jerker and I wanted to be swept away, but the author just did not draw me in.

Here's what I really liked about the book:
1. Stories about crows and raven mythology
2. A very positive portrayal of the value of assisted suicide

Here's what I did not like:
1. Characters, settings and situations were not believable for me - too perfect.
2. The writing was not challenging for me - the author often writes for young adults, and I felt the vocabulary and style would have been great for that audience.
3. In the first few pages I knew the death of our heroine would occur before the end of the book, and I felt it was a slow, tedious journey getting to that point.

The book Love Story kept echoing in my mind, but then Segal also wrote a very popular book that was not well received by the critics. This book may have the same appeal, which means it could be something you will totally enjoy. But to describe it as a major literary achievement with eternal lasting qualities might be quite a stretch.

posted by JaneM on January 26, 2010

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  • Posted January 28, 2010

    "You wanted to say . that it meant something, but time just wore it away."

    Eternal on the Water has all the elements that should have made it a great novel: a love story that will inevitably end in heartache, stunning settings, environmental concern and fascinating folklore woven in. And yet upon reaching the final page, I could only deem its sum lesser than its parts. Partially, I think my disappointment over this novel stemmed from the author not knowing what he wanted it to be: a romantic tale, an eco awareness raiser or a mythological fable. As a result, its sections felt disjointed, at times even jarringly so, as though the author were forcing the reader to veer completely off the intended path. Even worse, the romance proved stilted and awkward to read. Monniger is quite masterful at bringing scenery poetically to life, and his characters were overall well developed. In the end, however (borrowing a quote from the book), "I wanted to say that it meant something, but time just wore it away."

    4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 30, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I wanted to like this one.

    I received this ARC copy for the purpose of reviewing it here at BN. I tried really hard to like the book, but I just couldn't get into it. I knew from the get-go that it would be a tearjerker, but although I tend not to read those kind of books, I thought I would give it a chance. I thought the writing was fine enough, but the story just didn't grab me like I was hoping it would. The romance and relationship of the characters seemed somehow too perfect. I did read it until the end, but never felt really invested in the story. I will admit that I may have just been "not in the mood" for that particular book at that particular time. As with all books I don't enjoy, I will pass it on to a friend who is much more likely to love the story. And, still, I must say that you should just try reading it for yourself. My opinion is but one in 6 billion.

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 4, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Water Under the Bridge

    I know this review will be far different than most of the other reviews for this book. I read it, I enjoyed it (for the most part), but I will not remember it for very long. I knew this story would be a tear-jerker and I was fully prepared for that. Surprisingly, I didn't find those tears until the last few pages. The story was romantic and enjoyable, but there were too many things that I found annoying. One of them was the main character, Mary. She had far too many quirks for me to fall in love with her and like her for more than a few minutes. The romantic side of the story just seemed to rushed for me and made it a little unbelievable. Other parts of the story were just too clean cut and perfect, which also made the story a bit unrealistic. But, since this is a work of fiction, I suppose that's to be expected to some extent. I appreciated the assisted suicide aspect, and that was the most interesting thing to me that helped me enjoy the story. Overall, this book would be good for young readers and romantics. I gave it three stars because it was a decent story, but it wasn't captivating for me and I had too many issues with the main characters to really care for either one in the end.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 26, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Living life ...

    This book started off with the ending and captured my interest immediately. Although we know what is going to happen, there is still a little mystery. Namely, the why, how and when. The story centers on the relationship between Mary and Cobb. Specifically, love at first sight. We witness these characters living life to its' fullest in the face of inevitable tragedy. The story has an upbeat tempo . only a minor briefing of Mary's illness, Huntington's disease, is presented and we see only a few instances where the symptoms of the disease directly interfere with the lives of Mary and Cobb. I would have liked the characters of Mary and Cobb to have a little more realism associated with them. At times, they seemed too good to be true. Yes, there are truly selfless people in the world but here it seemed like it was everyone. -----
    The story flowed easily and was a joy to read. The characters and the locations were beautifully described. Each character brought a little something to the stage . very interesting. I found it easy to remember them all. What will you come away with after reading this novel? A feeling of sadness, a zest for life, a desire to help others, a .. You will need to read the novel to find out.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 5, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    heart-wrenching in its tenderness

    This is a touching story of love and living.

    It is a story of Cobb and Mary and how they choose to live despite the trials they are forced to accept, all the while remaining positive and true to themselves and those whom they love.

    The couple embrace their relationship with a Muir-type philosophy. Through their mutual awe of nature, they share a lifetime and create an enduring love.

    Eternal on the Water is a heartbreakingly sweet, poignant tale of love, heroism and loss.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 2, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    A Great Travelogue

    I'm really torn when reviewing this novel because it certainly has the potential to be amazing but in a couple of areas I believed it fell a little short.
    First of all, there is the tragic story told in the prologue. It reveals the ending and the reader is drawn into the story to determine the specifics regarding the death. A clever device because it invests the reader immediatly otherwise there is little pizzazz to keep the reader interested.
    Secondly, there is Mary. She is too perfect and perhaps it is because the story is told from her husbands perspective and he simply loves her beyond compare. Everybody loves her, everybody appeases her every whim regardless of how ridiculous. To this reader she was on the verge of becoming a very self-centered and selfish individual.
    Lastly, there are way too many moments that are simply unbelievable. Too many moments that are too co-incidental to be believed.

    Now, on the contrary, Monninger's writing is as fluid as the waters of the Allagash River where much of the story unfolds. His prose is liquid and flows effortlessly from scene to scene. Especially memorable are his depictions of the places traveled to in the novel. The northern country of Maine, Yellowstone National Park and the tropical island of Gili Trawangan in Indonesia are lovingly brought to life by Monninger's simple yet detailed portrayal. Be warned that the subject matter in this novel touches upon assisted suicide and a life threatening illness yet, again, Monninger handles this with aplomb.

    Overall, an OK story, told in a gentle manner. By far the most memorable portions of the book are the places Monninger will take you.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 21, 2010

    Amazing Writing Style!

    The first thing I was immediately drawn to in this book was the way of writing style. Joe writes like a pro. The words flow very easily and naturally. I found myself finishing the chapters in no time, because of the writing. At times the story was slow and unbelievable to me. I don't really believe in love at first sight, but I'm glad that the main characters found each other. The stories about the crows and the locations in the novel are outstandingly told. I also loved the humor the main characters had.This novel has taught me a lot about life and the beauty of nature. I would to like to thank Barnes and Noble for the opprotunity to read this book in their First Look program.


    P.S. WHOEVER IS RATING EVERYONE'S REVIEWS ABOUT THE BOOK. GET A LIFE. JUST BECAUSE YOU DON'T AGREE THAT PEOPLE LIKED THE BOOK AND YOU DID NOT. I HAVE A FEELING THIS IS WHAT YOU ARE DOING. I THINK YOU ARE SOME 40 YEAR OLD LADY. GUESS WHAT I'M OLD ENOUGH TO BE YOUR DAUGHTER. WOULD YOU TREAT YOUR DAUGHTER THIS WAY??? I FIND IT SENSELESS TO RATE EVEERYONE'S COMMENTS AS UNHELPFUL JUST FOR THE HECK OF IT!

    GO AHEAD AND DISAPPROVE OF MY OPINION. JUST BECAUSE MINE IS NOT THE SAME AS YOURS.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 1, 2010

    Couldn't Put it Down

    Although this is not normally the type of book that I would read, I found myself unable to put it down. The back cover describes river rafting in Maine, an adventure in Indonesia and a trip to Yellowstone...not really things that I thought I would enjoy. This book however, is so much more than an "granola" outdoor adventure book.

    First and foremost, it is a love story. The beginning of the romance is a bit corny (love at first sight?), but the characters grow on you and you become invested in their story. I like how the author reveals the end of the story in the beginning. The book is about how they get to that point.

    My favorite thing about this book is the stories of the animals...crows, bears, turtles, wolves, etc. I am an animal lover and I really enjoyed learning more about these creatures and the mythology that surrounds them.

    I would recommend this book to my friends...even the friends that aren't ourdoorsy.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 31, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Hard to Connect

    Eternal on the Water is a story of love found and the difficult choices that follow when an illness comes into play. I found the writing to be choppy and I could never connect with the main characters of Cobb and Mary. The scenes involving nature and the mythology of crows were however written beautifully.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 31, 2010

    Unmoved

    When you finish a book you should be able to at least be able to answer "What is this story about?". I find it difficult to even give a good description of its purpose.

    Eternal on the Water is about a dying character, and since I didn't connect with the main characters of the book, it was difficult to even care. The dialog was often awkward and choppy.

    The love at first sight story was not believable and not romantic. There was no getting swept away with emotion in their meeting. Mary could have made a wonderful quirky character, but instead she turned out just odd and uninteresting.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 30, 2010

    Unplanned Love

    This book takes us on a journey of a man, a woman, love, and tragedy. We learn right from the beginning that unfortunately the lead character will meet her demise, but what we get to enjoy throughout is the tale of how this couple worked together through a terrible disease. The descriptions of the many destinations that the lovers travel to are so descriptive that you can feel the cold along the river, and the warmth in of the sun by the sea in Indonesia. Though their love seems forced in the beginning of the book, as the story progresses you can see why they are a good pair. Mary is a lively character, telling knock knock jokes and mythical stories of crows and history, which at times seem to be put in the story to fill space, yet at times are perfect for the story. The book reminds us to be grateful for each day and enjoy our time with loved ones as we never know what life has in store for us.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 30, 2010

    Great Story

    The author tells a great story that moves quickly in the life of the characters. Mary and Cobb engage you and involve you in their happiness. It is a sad book, but filled with their happiness. Joe takes you on the journey to the settings by taking you to Maine, Indonesia, etc. Hard to put down.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 28, 2010

    Eternal on the Water...

    Overall it's a great book, very touching and romantic. I was choking up when the characters were choking up. I felt some parts of the book were slow going, but it's definitely worth the time! I'll definitely reread the book and let others know about it.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 27, 2010

    Eternal on the Water

    Excellent descriptive writing, easy to read. I found the book a little too nice as far as the relationship between the two main characters. Their relationship was too perfect. Many of the scenes were very touching, especially the ending. I didn't hate this book, it would be good for reading on the beach. It was entertaining, I just had difficulty believing in the characters.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 25, 2010

    This book shines a light on true love and the courage necessary to face life and death.

    This is a beautiful but tragic tale, described as a love story by the author. For me, it was more than that. It was a journey about survival, about facing life threatening challenges, about dealing with impending doom. The author's writing style is very easy to read. With a spare use of words, he paints really sharp and often extremely descriptive images. I felt as if I was in the setting and knew the characters. You will absolutely grow to love them. Their personalities jumped off the page and I enjoyed meeting them, half hoping that I would find people in my own life who resembled them, people who could be satisfied with the simple things, people who did not need the social climbing atmosphere of our current society which screams out more, give me more, at every opportunity.
    The book opens with the death of one of the main characters and then works backward in time. The injection of humor into the telling of the tale makes the tragedy and the plight of the characters easier to handle. You will travel with the lovers on a nostalgic trip back in time, reliving their adventures, sharing their fears and joys, facing their sorrows and trials.
    The book is divided into four parts. The first and last were the most poignant, for me, and also the most interesting and well written. The middle two sections sometimes seemed wordy and redundant. Overall, though, the story grabs at your heartstrings right from the get go and will hold them until the end. The story will touch you deeply so keep a box of tissues nearby.

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 19, 2010

    Perfect romance for February

    At first, I was a little mad the prologue so absolutely foreshadowed the end of the novel. But, as I continued to read this beautiful romance, I became more forgiving. Jonathan Cobb meets Mary Ford one day as they both arrive by Toyota pick-up to kayak on the Allagash River in Maine. Cobb is there to follow some lines of thought from Thoreau for a paper, Mary returns often after having first discovered it as a Chungamunga adventure girl in her youth. I really liked the blend of the outdoors and romance as Cobb and Mary's relationship progresses. Commitment, science, folklore and family are all big themes in this story and really, anyone who camped at least once as some sort of youth scout will enjoy the Chungamunga girls and their leader, Wally and how all trails lead back to the Allagash.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 2, 2011

    A Forever Keeper!

    Eternal On the Water reaches far beyond matters of the heart. It touches the crux of ones soul. I am a writer myself and Mr. Monninger expresses himself eloquently in ways those of us whom venture into the worlds of reality and imagination rarely master. I was so absorbed in the story's plot, which links adventure, love and death into a book that will have you riveted from beginning to end. It is fast paced, emotional and one of the most memorable books I have ever read. It left such an indelible impression with me that I wrote a letter for my loved ones, placed it inside the book and locked it up with items to be dispersed upon my death. This book expresses a strong message that I would like my husband, son and daughter to have access of. It was a book in which I was able to derive an even deeper meaning to apply to my life. It is inspirational, motivational and holds a degree of wisdom that only those of us who experience life fully and completely would ever be able to identify. I have nothing but praise for this enlightening, very sad but incredibly uplifting story. Enjoy!

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  • Posted February 24, 2010

    I really wanted to love this book but...

    ...it was just ok. The author did a great job in describing the Allagash river, Yellowstone Park and Indonesia. I also got a good mental picture of Jonathan and Mary and I liked them both especially Mary who is a little 'kooky' at times. However, the love story sounded and felt contrived at times, almost forced, but not overly so and maybe its because I'm not sure if I believe in love at first sight. Also, the setting was too perfect. It was a little hard to believe at times.

    I must say that I needed a box of Kleenex by the end of the book. The author really pulled at my heart strings and made me examine how I feel about assisted suicide.

    All in all, I would recommend this book with reservations. This was a pretty good first novel. I will look for books by Joseph Monninger in the future.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 5, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    I tried to like this book.

    After reading the description of this book for the BN First Look Book Club, I had to read it. I thought it was going to be such a wonderful and touching love story; however, I just couldn't get into it. The writing style didn't bother me (although I felt like there was a 'he/she said' written after almost every line of dialogue, so I had to make myself ignore those endings), I thought it was pretty good actually. The story itself didn't capture me. I never felt like I wanted to read more of the story when I would have to put it down. The love story between Cobb and Mary seemed almost 'too perfect' and it was unbelievable, to me anyway. I did read this through to the end (once I start a book, I have to finish it) but I never really felt connected to any of the characters and I never yearned for more. I would be interested in reading more of his books and suggest that you read this one for yourself as you may enjoy it. After all, this is just my opinion, yours could be completely different.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 1, 2010

    Should you be able to plan your own death?

    I really wanted to like this story and there were parts of it that I loved. However, overall, this is not a book I would recommend to others.
    The book begins by depicting the herione's death and I often felt that the rest of the book was selling me on why her assisted suicide was acceptable. Perhaps my beliefs on the sancitity of human life tainted my view, but I don't think so.
    If you love nature, animals, and the outdoors, this maybe a great book for you. I am a city girl, not the L.L.Bean type, so that made some of the illustrations and storyline elements a bit boring for me. Another interesting element is the author's use of modern day references, specifically name brand products. I felt that I could read the story 50 years from now and it would still be impactful and, yet, the product references would date the book and remind me of it's age.
    The reading level is not very advanced, making it a charming, yet thought-provoking, love story for a rainy Sunday afternoon.

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