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After the Falls Paperback – 2010


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Product Details

  • Paperback
  • Publisher: Vintage Canada (2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0307398234
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307398239
  • Product Dimensions: 14.5 x 2.5 x 20.9 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 249 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #151,841 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

Catherine Gildiner recounts her remarkable coming-of-age in the 1960s with the same wit, candour and exhilarating storytelling that has made Too Close to the Falls a modern classic.


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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By BookChick TOP 500 REVIEWER on Jan. 12 2010
Format: Hardcover
I hadn't read Gildiner's previous books (one novel, one previous memoir) and wasn't sure if I would be able to get into this one without having read one or both of those, but I was quickly captivated by her engaging writing style and the fascinating recounting of her "coming of age" years.

The story begins when Cathy is thirteen years old (oh, those awkward, formative teenage years!). Her parents have decided to move from Niagra Falls, where she was rasied in the family home that has been used for generations, to suburban Buffalo so that their spirited daughter would have a place where she could focus on her studies and generally stay out of the trouble that often found her in Niagra Falls. Cathy has no plans to change her nature despite the fact that her location has changed, and it's not long before she's up to her old ways in Buffalo. As her teenage years unfold, we join her as she lobbies against the statues of black jockeys that grace many lawns in Buffalo, learns about what really goes on during fraternity meetings, and goes off to college with the intent of changing the world. We are with her as she falls in love for the first time, and we are with her as she learns of her father's heartbreaking medical diagnosis that will change her family forever.

Let me tell you why I loved this novel. First of all, even though this is a memoir, it reads like fiction. In fact I frequently forgot that I was reading a memoir and not fiction while I was devouring her words. The things that Catherine Gildiner has experienced rival the things that I could ever hope to experience in my lifetime. She guides us through the 60's in a far more interesting way than history books could ever hope to. Second, Catherine Gildiner allows her readers to get into her head as she writes.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
After reading Catherine Gildiner's first book, "Too Close to the Falls" (a delightful treasure I discovered in a second-hand store) I did a quick online search and discovered that the author had written a follow-up to her original story. I immediately ordered a copy, and when it arrived, found that this too was a book that I could not put down. Gildiner's talent for telling a story is one that is to be treasured, and envied by those of us who wish we had the same gift. As with her first book, this one had me captivated from first page to the very last.

The story is the continuation of Gildiner's autobiographical coming of age, this time picking up when she is in her mid teens. While I'd highly recommend to anyone who hasn't read "Too Close to the Falls" to pick up a copy and read it first, it certainly isn't necessary. "After the Falls" can be read as a stand-alone story, as it follows Gildiner through university life, discovering love, experiencing heartbreak, and undergoing all of the wonderful, painful lessons that come with growing up. And what a life this author has led! Her involvement with the political era of the 60s is chronicled so very well that the reader will almost feel they have travelled back in time, walking alongside Gildiner as she handles each situation with her own unique blend of humour, tenacity, and determination. There is not a moment's pause in the book; every page is full of charm, wonder, and consequence. And as with her first book, when I came to the final page I found myself wishing the story wasn't ending.

For anyone who grew up in the 50s-60s, I emphatically recommend this book, as well as the author's previous writing, as a must-read. And for those who may be younger - or even older - I still recommend Catherine Gildiner's book. This author is an excellent storyteller whose words will have you engrossed from the moment you begin to read.
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By Luanne Ollivier #1 HALL OF FAMETOP 10 REVIEWER on Nov. 2 2010
Format: Paperback
Well, After the Falls was just as addicting as the first. For many reasons (Cathy being one of them) she and her family have left Lewison and relocated to Buffalo, NY. The suburb they settle in is completely different than the small town atmosphere of their former home. The house is smaller, her mother no longer has her social clubs and church and her research seems to no longer interest her. Her father is no longer a front line pharmacist and seems to miss the respect that went with his former position in Lewiston. Everything has changed....

Cathy analyzes the lay of the land and plots her plan to fit in - becoming a cheerleader, buying the right clothes, borrowing the family car late at night etc. But 'fitting in' is not in her nature. Although her parents have moved to the Amherst subdivision so that she can be enrolled in a well thought of academic high school, academics aren't a priority.

"My father never said a word about my dismal school record in terms of scholastics or behaviour. He never mentioned the call from the guidance counsellor, Mr. Myshenko, who'd said I was a 'born leader who had gone astray.' I only found out about it when he threatened to call Dad again. When I asked Mr. Myshenko why he had called my father instead of my mother, he said that whenever they called my home and asked the woman who answered if she was the mother of Cathy McClure, she said no."

Cathy is still questioning why things are and what she can do to change them. Having worked so closely with Roy, the black delivery driver for most of her childhood, Cathy is stunned when racism openly appears in her new surroundings. One response? The Black Lawn Jockey Elimination squadron is born. The drive for social justice continues when Cathy attends Ohio University.
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