Too Close to the Falls: A Memoir Paperback – Oct 1 1999
Frequently Bought Together
Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought
No Kindle device required. Download one of the Free Kindle apps to start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, and computer.
To get the free app, enter your e-mail address or mobile phone number.
From Publishers Weekly
Now a successful clinical psychologist with a monthly advice column in the popular Canadian magazine Chatelaine, Gildiner tells of her childhood in 1950s Lewiston, N.Y., a small town near Niagara Falls, in this hilarious and moving coming-of-age memoir. Deemed hyperactive by the town's pediatrician, at age four Gildiner was put to work at her father's pharmacy in an effort to harness her energy. Her stories of delivering prescriptions with her father's black deliveryman, Roy, are the most affecting parts of this book, with young Cathy serving as map reader for the illiterate but streetwise fellow, who acted as both protector and fellow adventurer. In a style reminiscent of the late Jean Shepherd, Gildiner tells her tales with a sharp humor that rarely misses a beat and underscores the dark side of what at first seems a Norman Rockwell existence. Mired in a land dispute, the local Native American population has a chief who requires sedatives to subdue his violent moods. Meanwhile, the feared "monster" who maintains the town dump is simply afflicted with "Elephant Man" syndrome. And Cathy's mother--with her intellectual preoccupations and aversion to housework and visiting neighbors--is an emblem of prefeminist frustration. The book's vaunted celebrity dish--Gildiner delivered sleeping pills to Marilyn Monroe on the set of Niagara--pales in comparison to such ordinary adult pathos. By book's end, Cathy, too, gets her share, as beloved Roy mysteriously exits and an entanglement with a confused young priest brings her literally and figuratively "too close to the falls."
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
From Library Journal
Clinical psychologist Gildiner's well-crafted memoir describes her 1950s childhood in Lewiston, "a small town in western New York, a few miles north of Niagara Falls." Hers was no ordinary childhood but that of a precocious, headstrong, and intelligent girl whose parents provided a uniquely unconventional upbringing. Because of her lively temperament, her pediatrician recommended to her older and devoutly Catholic parents that she work in her father's pharmacy to channel her energies. Thus, at the age of four, she was teamed with a black male employee to deliver prescription drugs when not in school. She had a wide range of experiences with her co-worker, stopping in bars and making deliveries to both the wealthiest and the poorest members of the community. In each eventful chapter, Gildiner focuses on a particular adult who strongly influenced her understanding of the world. Often dangerous, her experiences, as related here, are also amusing, charming, and relevant. Highly recommended.DSue Samson, Univ. of Montana Lib., Missoula
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc.
What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?
Top Customer Reviews
Unfortunate, too, are the last few chapters. They come as a letdown to an otherwise thoroughly engaging memoir. Ms. Gildiner deserved far better treatment. One can only hope that her next publisher/next editor will do the job right.
I grew up in Toronto not too far from Lewiston (and Niagara) as the crow flies, during the same time period. Reading her book triggered many similar memories of my youth. As an example, I remember visiting Niagara Falls while some outdoor pieces of the movie set used in "Niagara" were still in place (the motel). I'm glad she has such a good memory.
I heard Catherine being interview on CBC radio. After the interview I ordered a copy of both her biographical books from Amazon. I was not disappointed.
Shallow Lake, Ontario
The fault I find is her attempt to capture the innocent's POV so many years later while relating details which would have had little meaning to a child but which the author must explain to make the story meaningful.
The author is of my generation and the references she makes ring true. But that they were experienced by one so young ( age four to eight for much of the tale ) is difficult to imagine. The nub of her story is her early bestriding of the child/adult worlds enabled by her unconventional parents. Her mother in particular stands out as a work of fancy rather than reality. She strikes me as tragi-comical, a combination of Blanche Dubois and June Cleaver.
The sequel should prove easier to accept, as Catherine's life as teenager should be free of the aforementioned drawbacks.
Most recent customer reviews
This book was very funny and being a Catholic girl it hit close to the bone. The character development was great and they were so colorful you could see them come to life. Read morePublished 16 months ago by Arthur R. Hill
I have given this book away so many times. It is a rare gem.Published 18 months ago by Northern Exposure
This was an amazing story, just unbelievable, the girl was so smart and old for her age, and the way her parents were bringing her up was so different, especially for the times, I... Read morePublished 22 months ago by dorothy bain
I grew up in central NYS at about the same time as Catherine, so the setting is familiar, the characters and stories touching and hilarious. Read morePublished on Nov. 22 2013 by Kathy Purc
This was a skillfully crafted memoir describing a highly unusual childhood, yet with plenty of moments that the reader can relate to personally.Published on Nov. 23 2012 by Clare Wiggill