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Fall on Your Knees [Hardcover]

Ann-Marie MacDonald
3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (205 customer reviews)

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First Sentence
A LONG TIME AGO, BEFORE you were born, there lived a family called Piper on Cape Breton Island. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
By Serena
I am having trouble starting this, because I'm still in shock over the vast amount of negative reviews that I have just read. Even if you don't like the storyline or "relate" to the characters, I am shocked that someone could come up with something negative to say because the writing alone is hands down breathtaking. I did not think it was possible for someone to write so magnificently and yet be an unknown name. It is the most amazing debut novel I have ever read of any author.
To be honest, the beginning is a little slow. It took me longer than usual to get into it. However, around page 100, I couldn't put it down. I was so intrigued by every single character. It didn't matter if I related to them or not, what mattered was that I sympathized with them and felt that I knew them. I felt as though I had grown up with the Piper children, and for days after finishing I couldn't stop thinking about Lily or Mercedes or Katherine.
There is no denying that the family is more than slightly dysfunctional. As dysfunctional as it is, it is still completely realistic. Fall on your knees is a heartbreaking story of one family. For me, as much as I wanted to hate certain characters, such as John, I couldn't because no matter how horrible he could be, you also see how amazing he could be. You LOVE these characters, even if you don't want to. You get angry and sad, but still, through it all, you feel for them, and see why they do what they do.
It's been a long time since I have been so touched by the characters in a book. They became more than characters to me. They were my friends. I cried when they cried and I laughed when they laughed. The story is depressing and dark. It is heartbreaking and pretty emotionally draining, to be honest.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
I really enjoyed this book and would have to recommend it. The characters are enthralling, the pyschological undertones which serve the motives for their actions are interesting to decipher. What happened 10 years and 100 pages ago, or perhaps a generation ago creates an underlying motive to act out in the way the character does in the present. This aspect is truly fascinating. As is the mysteries always lying present to be discovered around the corner.
The writing is excellent, different from your typical novel, and I felt it almost had a slight touch of James Joyce in it, with Ms. MacDonald's ability to mix nursery rhymes, child's poems, and church hymns into the literature in a meaningful manner that contributes to the story.
What I didn't like was two aspects. One was Ginger. I admire Ginger for all his morals, hard work, and his "goodness". And then to break down in a single moment like that....while it doesn't make sense....as a man I have to say in respone to a previous reviewer... yes ladies there is actually indeed a lot of thought and second guessing that goes on between the process of getting excited and then suddenly deciding to enter somebody....Ginger would not have done such. As well I questioned Frances sudden desire to get pregnant and to get pregnant by ginger...why Ginger?....maybe I missed something with regards to that aspect.
My only other complaint was that looking back on it, it reads like it was partially funded by the Federal Ministry for Multiculturalism (yes there is such a thing in Canada) : Scots, Whites, Blacks, Catholics, Arabs, Protestants, Baptists, Homosexuals, Transgenders, Cripples, Child Prostitues, Spinsters, Single Mothers, Drug Addicts, Social Strife among workers, War hero's, incest,(...)...have I mentioned them all?
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Thought it was going to be something else July 24 2004
By A Customer
I don't know why, but I thought this was set in the southern United States. Probably the reason for this was that many of Oprah's picks are. I was expecting something along the lines of A LESSON BEFORE DYING or THE BARK OF THE DOGWOOD. At any rate, I was pleasantly surprised to find this was set in Nova Scotia and is basically the story of five generations. I was reminded of THE SHIPPING NEWS in some ways, but after MacDonald pulled me into the novel, all similarities ended there.
The story is basically about four sisters. All are ambitious yet have strong family ties. Parts of the novel are VERY funny and parts are extremely dark. VERY dark. But there's redemption at the end and overall I have to highly recommend this one.
Also recommended: THE BARK OF THE DOGWOOD--A Tour of Southern Homes and Gardens--Hysterical and harrowing. The most shocking book I've read to date.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fall-down good June 20 2005
I actually got this book on accident from some shady book club that mysteriously sent me five books and then tried to charge me for them. I have the hardcover version, and the cover art looked... boring. I neglected this book for a year.
The old saying "never judge a book by its cover" has never been more concise.
This book is an absolute work of art. The incredible depth of each character is unparalleled by anything else I have read. While "Fall On Your Knees" does contain some very controversial subjects, such as child molestation, it does not present itself in a distasteful manner. I was reminded of "Bark of the Dogwood" with its similar themes and great writing. The frailty and emotions of humankind are exquisitely revealed here. Cape Breton Island is painted into your mind, you can see it perfectly, from rocky cliffs over the ocean to clapboard houses all in a row. MacDonald is a master storyteller. She manages to completely envelop you in the lives of those whom she writes about, to the point that if you tell me I wasn't there to see all of this happen, I would have to catch myself before I told you that you were mistaken. Absolutely enthralling. Don't be like me and ignore this masterpiece. Buy a copy for yourself and every other person you know. It's that good.
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Most recent customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Loved it!
Fascinating study of relationships, both human and divine. Disturbing and thought provoking yet a celebration of the triumph of the human spirit over adversity.
Published 7 months ago by Greg Dobbin
5.0 out of 5 stars Stunning!
This is one of the most spectacular debut novels I've ever come across. A very complicated story primarily concerning a single family but crossing through multiple generations and... Read more
Published 20 months ago by SG
4.0 out of 5 stars enjoyable but not a "must" read
Thought this book was very good but story did not stay with me as other stories have. I remember enjoying the story at the time I was reading the book, but quickly forgetting about... Read more
Published on Nov. 16 2010 by Halifax Mary
5.0 out of 5 stars Makes Me Proud To Be Canadian
My mother gave this book to me to read when I was about sixteen and I think I have read it four times since. I give this book to friends and suggest it to new immigrants to Canada. Read more
Published on May 9 2010 by Brittany Levett
4.0 out of 5 stars Full of Raw Emotions
In this multi-layered novel about life in early 20th century Cape Breton Island, Macdonald treats her readers to a vivid and colorful look at a traditional east coast society torn... Read more
Published on March 21 2010 by Ian Gordon Malcomson
1.0 out of 5 stars Loathesome, manipulative drivel
A laundry list of perversions performed on and by people you can't care about. A waste of good reading time.
Published on Nov. 16 2008 by Elspeth
4.0 out of 5 stars captivating
I picked this up, and hardly ever put it down. The story was often disturbing, yet I need to know what would happen next.
A good read.
Published on July 14 2008 by kebmo
4.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful story, beautifully written
A co-worker of mine lent me this book and upon looking at its size, I said to myself I wont be able to finish this book within the month. Read more
Published on Dec 18 2007 by SK
5.0 out of 5 stars Exploring different forms of love
This was Ms MacDonald's debut novel It is black and bleak and full of secrets. Peopled by flawed yet believable characters, this was one of the most amazing novels I read in... Read more
Published on Sept. 1 2007 by Jennifer Cameron-Smith
4.0 out of 5 stars Great book.
This book is more than incredible. I randomly started reading it about three days ago, and I cannot put it down. Read more
Published on July 26 2007 by Tara
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