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Fall on Your Knees Hardcover – 1997


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Product Details

  • Hardcover
  • Publisher: Jonathan Cape (1997)
  • ISBN-10: 0224044966
  • ISBN-13: 978-0224044967
  • ASIN: B001KT7RV0
  • Product Dimensions: 23.6 x 16 x 4.6 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 798 g
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (207 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

3.7 out of 5 stars

Most helpful customer reviews

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Serena on June 15 2003
Format: Paperback
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 By Young Urban Professional Guy's Guy on July 28 2004
Format: Paperback
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 By Jeanine E. V. Bright on May 31 2002
Format: Paperback
(some spoilers here... be careful!)
I've been meaning to write about this book for some time, but I keep putting it out of my mind. In fact, that's how it was reading it. When I had it in my hands I was insatiable, sucking down the wordsmithing of the author, enjoying the way she presents and re-presents ideas in different lights and voices. Amazingly good writing. It's a rare thing.
But the content is ... depressing. Contemptable. Predictable, even. The central family is so tragic that it is actually funny at times. And then I feel embarrassed for laughing. The father is a pedophile. The mother is one of the most sympathetic characters I've ever seen. Then Frances, the filthy woman-child, becomes the center. But not quite... Lily is a beautifully drawn character, as are all the girls. Oh, and Rose. I could love Rose. Who wouldn't? so many artfully done views of the characters! Ya love 'em, ya hate 'em. But when I would put the book down it was days before I could pick it up again.
I have to compare it with Grapes of Wrath, the way it moves between generations. There are no surprises in this book, just layers of misery. And that's not a criticism, rather an observation about this book. I think some readers were looking for some great discovery, only to find that they already knew what was going on.
I was surprised when the weight was somehow lightened at the end. Like the disgruntled debutante finding peace at her 20 year highschool reunion, when the son shows up with the family tree there is a kind of warm nostalgia... Makes you wish you could hear the piano stylings of Daddy Rose...
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