Realizing River City

Non-Fiction - Memoir
146 Pages
Reviewed on 09/22/2017
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Author Biography

Melissa Grunow is the author of Realizing River City (Tumbleweed Books, 2016) which won Second Place-Nonfiction in the 2016 Independent Author Network Book of the Year Awards. Her work has appeared in Creative Nonfiction, River Teeth, The Nervous Breakdown, New Plains Review, and Blue Lyra Review, among many others. Her essays have been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and listed in the Best American Essays 2016 notables. She has an MFA in creative nonfiction with distinction from National University. Visit her website at or follow her on Twitter @melgrunow.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Divine Zape for Readers' Favorite

Realizing River City by Melissa Grunow is a gripping memoir that will rattle the emotions of readers, having them navigate the gray zones of loss, the power of compassion, and the excitement of hope. A story that answers the not-so-often asked questions of womanhood. The author takes readers through her numerous heartbreaks, abusive relationships, and her search for meaning in a world that is quite often lacking in charity and the basic values that make us human. In this memoir, she communicates the hope that everything can turn out just wonderfully well when we dare to risk giving ourselves another chance at creating the life we want.

This is a powerful story, beautifully written in a style that is lyrical, friendly and seductive. One feels that the author writes straight from the heart, a gift which allows the reader to be emotionally connected to the protagonist. I loved the beauty of the prose and the author’s storytelling craft. The themes are so masterfully woven into the story that I found myself reflecting on them without losing anything in the narrative. Melissa Grunow’s reflections on relationships, womanhood, inner freedom, family and love are compelling. The writing has depth and it is very insightful and emotionally intense. The story is filled with the wisdom of the heart that will, undoubtedly, appeal to female readers. Realizing River City is written with surprising honesty and one has the impression of seeing through the veil into the nakedness of another soul. It is inspiring, engaging, and entertaining.