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The Whisper of the River by Ferrol Sams

The Whisper of the River

by Ferrol Sams

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Highly autobiographical Bildungsroman, of a boy in rural central Georgia who goes off to college in Macon in the late 1930s at age 16. Vivid portrayal of campus life, gags, hard knocks, frictions, oddball roommates. Slowly he matures, makes unlikely friendships and finds a direction, while news of a distant war hums in the background. Engaging enough and I will probably read the third of this physician/author's trilogy of books. ( )
  ThoughtPolice | May 15, 2014 |
What a super book! Sams evokes pre-WW2 rural Georgia in a way that reminds me of Faulkner, but funnier. ( )
  leslie.98 | Jun 26, 2013 |
Book 2 of Sams' epic southern trilogy. Little Porter leaves home and goes to college.

"This bittersweet and very funny novel tells the tale of Porter Osborn, Jr. from the time he leaves his home in a small Georgia town to attend Willingham University, until he completes college and is about to begin medical school. Even though he has been "raised right" in the Baptist faith, young Porter confronts his new environment with energy, pride, skepticism, and mischievous delight.

The Whisper of the River is the second of a trilogy of novels that describe the life of Porter Osborn, Jr. from early childhood through medical school at Emory University and his service in World War II. This is thinly veiled autobiographical fiction. Sams is a master storyteller: you can almost hear the tone of his voice as he spins these long, convoluted yarns of incipient love and breathtaking disaster in a small southern university in the late 1930's. The Whisper of the River, like Sams's other books, is more a series of delightful episodes than a well-plotted, coherent novel."

I love this trilogy! ( )
1 vote meadow68 | Feb 21, 2009 |
This is a continuation of the story of Porter Osborne Jr of whom we first met in Run with the Horsemen. In the first chapter the author gives us some of Porter's, aka Sambo, background and world view. The protagonist grew up in the country in the state of Georgia and was raised Baptist, hence, he was "raised right," This comes up throughout the story over and over, and Sambo often depends on his being raised right as his means of salvation as opposed to his faith in Christ. To restate it, Sambo can be very works oriented. Since he is very works oriented he lets himself off the hook, as many of us can relate. The author does a good job of showing how the same character and those around him can at one moment be living a moralistic life style and then immediately turn and show the depravity of man. Often I found myself being very disappointed in the choices Sambo made, then again as a man in need of grace should I really be surprised that this character also needs grace and forgiveness? There are times that the language seems more crude than necessary, but again this illustrates the sinfulness of man. I enjoyed and recommend this book and Lord willing, I will read the third installment. I still wonder how Sambo can take so much pride in being raised Baptist. After all, he is not Presbyterian. ( )
  morryb | Aug 28, 2008 |
A review by someone who hasn't read the book. But then, I have listened to the moans of two daughters for whom The Whisper of the River was required reading the summers before their college freshman years. Their progress reports and their essay drafts were enough for my social commentary, if not my literary commentary.

The Whisper of the River is a quaint picture of a time long gone, if still in the memories of those in retirement age. Sams has recently retired from his medical practice. Whisper is much closer to the John Birch Heresy Trials than the dissolution from the Georgia Baptist Convention. And integration wasn't even a possibility.

Small town boy gets his eyes opened by bigger fish in the big pond, as if Macon in 1942 was a big pond. And Fayetteville now has tv and the internet. Most of the shock of going to college is gone. But then, there're different things to shock.

This is probably a worthwhile read for the very thinly veiled history. But summer required reading is always a bad thing.
  DromJohn | Sep 5, 2007 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0140083871, Paperback)

Thousands came to know and love the boy in Ferrol Sams's brilliant, best-selling first novel RUN WITH THE HORSEMEN. Now the redoubtable Porter Osborne, Jr. is back - a little older, slightly more worldly, but just as full of mischief and curiosity as ever. With the power and grace which readily identify Ferrol Sams's writing, THE WHISPER OF THE RIVER confronts young Porter with a maelstrom of conflict, growth, and heightened sexuality. But beneath the turbulent surface of outrageous pranks and ribald humor, Porter finally senses a quiet and constant flow toward maturity. This is a story about loss of innocence, but it's also the story of an age, a family, and a place that will remain with you long after the last page.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:20:04 -0400)

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