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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Nostalgia
I grew up in Lewiston, which during my childhood was a small, sleepy village where my father was mayor for four terms (He ran on both tickets!) Tho I left a few years before this book, I recognized names and places the author mentioned.
My Catholic school education differed from hers, as I went to a different school but am enthralled with her changes, both as a...
Published on July 4 2001 by Sally Coup

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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Could have been splendid
Here is a memoir that deserved far more care in editing than it received. As a result, the misspellings and anachronisms seriously detract from the pleasure of reading about one of the most eccentric families ever. As the overactive only child of two truly fascinating people, Catherine Gildiner started working in her father's pharmacy at the age of four. Her adventures...
Published on Dec 3 2000 by Charlotte Vale-Allen


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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Could have been splendid, Dec 3 2000
This review is from: Too Close to the Falls: A Memoir (Paperback)
Here is a memoir that deserved far more care in editing than it received. As a result, the misspellings and anachronisms seriously detract from the pleasure of reading about one of the most eccentric families ever. As the overactive only child of two truly fascinating people, Catherine Gildiner started working in her father's pharmacy at the age of four. Her adventures with customers and with her peers, but most especially with her parents are told with great good humor and kindness. Unfortunately, the problems mentioned above get in the way so badly that it made for tedious, sometimes maddening reading of what would, with judicious editing, have been a wonderful autobiographical piece. Just to cite two examples: the Jackie Gleason show aired on Saturday nights, not on Fridays. And the spelling of famous names often varies within a single paragraph.
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.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Nostalgia, July 4 2001
By 
Sally Coup (Selinsgrove, PA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Too Close to the Falls: A Memoir (Paperback)
I grew up in Lewiston, which during my childhood was a small, sleepy village where my father was mayor for four terms (He ran on both tickets!) Tho I left a few years before this book, I recognized names and places the author mentioned.
My Catholic school education differed from hers, as I went to a different school but am enthralled with her changes, both as a Catholic and a person.
I had heard only sketchy stories about the take over of the Tuscarora land and was incensed when I read her account.
I'm almost finished with it, and I hate to get to the last page. At some point, I'm sure I'll reread it and digest more.
Good book! Excellent storytelling!
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5.0 out of 5 stars amazing story, March 28 2014
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This review is from: Too Close to the Falls: A Memoir (Paperback)
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 loved it, and have passed it on to others, they have all enjoyed it.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Too funny!, Nov. 22 2013
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This review is from: Too Close to the Falls: A Memoir (Paperback)
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. It is a treat for the child in all of us.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great read, Nov. 23 2012
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This was a skillfully crafted memoir describing a highly unusual childhood, yet with plenty of moments that the reader can relate to personally.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Lovely, lively, enchanting memoir, May 22 2001
This review is from: Too Close to the Falls: A Memoir (Paperback)
A beautifully written memoir - my mother recommended it to me, that's always a plus. The author really made me feel connected to her, and women/girls growing up in general. Although my childhood was completely different (on the surface), I could completely identify with the feelings and experiences Gildiner describes. Too Close to the Falls is one of those archetypal stories that describes a life that we've all lived to some extent. Message to the author: PLEASE WRITE A SEQUEL!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful Memoir, Aug. 3 2011
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This review is from: Too Close to the Falls: A Memoir (Paperback)
This is an excellent, funny, intelligent memoir that captures a time, and a family perfectly. What I appreciate most in a memoir is the element of truth -- not so much truth as in the facts, but in the telling. Incredibly enjoyable and well-written.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A Rare Find, Dec 19 2009
By 
W. R., Vanderburgh (Shallow Lake Ontario) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Too Close to the Falls: A Memoir (Paperback)
I suppose we all have the memories within ourselves which would enable us to write an autobiography, but few persons manage to put pen to paper and create a book such as "Too Close To The Falls: A Memoir". I was captivated from the very first chapter and was most disappointed when I reached the end. As a result I went back and reread certain chapters. One of my favourites was the one about the arrival of the television. I could imagine peeking into the living room watching Catherine decorating her TV (shrine?) with packs of Camel cigarettes in time for John Cameron Swayze's nightly visit with his "Camel Caravan". It was fascinating to read of her early years with her off-beat family. She had so much energy that she burned if off by working at her father's Drug Store tarting at 4 years of age. How she and Roy became a team is a great story in itself.

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.

Ron Vanderburgh
Shallow Lake, Ontario
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3.0 out of 5 stars Falls short, Dec 18 2009
By 
Kenneth Deluca "smugster" (Ontario Canada) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Too Close to the Falls: A Memoir (Paperback)
Too Close to the Falls is supposed to be a true story; it comes off as surreal bio that strains credulity. I purchased Catherine Gildiner's book and her sequel after hearing her being interviewed on CBC radio. In that delightful interview she spoke of times in her life covered in both books. She is an excellent, humourous oral racconteur. Alas, her speaking skills do not translate as well to the written page. It is a good read, to be sure and it easily passed my test of interest, reading uninterupted by other books' attention.

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.
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5.0 out of 5 stars enjoyable read, randomly read over certain chapters, Dec 14 2008
By 
Scott M. Ferguson "Shelley Smith" (guelph ontario) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Too Close to the Falls: A Memoir (Paperback)
this book is great. but i enjoy it by the chapters, there are ones i have read and re red numerus times while there are others i havent finished likely or only read once.

my grandmother gave me this book to read after she had read it and loved it, i was perhaps 14? no idea but alot younger. But i still adore it
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Too Close to the Falls: A Memoir
Too Close to the Falls: A Memoir by Catherine Gildiner (Paperback - Oct. 1 1999)
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