Reviews

Fall on Your Knees, by Ann-Marie MacDonald

kairosdreaming's review against another edition

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4.0

What a depressing book. It was well written sure, but just utterly down hearted and sad. I'm not really sure what I think of it to tell the truth.

After his parents die, James Piper moves to be a piano tuner and earn the big bucks. While working for one family, he falls in love with their thirteen year old daughter Materia and elopes with her. When she becomes pregnant though he quickly loses his fascination with her and starts to see all her flaws. But then she births Kathleen who becomes the apple of his eye and a fantastic singer to boot. He dotes on this little girl and even her sisters who come along later can't begin to compare with her. But when she brings shame to the family nothing else will ever be the same and the family's lives spiral into something almost unrecognizable as functional.

None of these characters were very heartwarming. Sure Frances had a dark streak of humor but even that humor was a little sad. Mercedes was just plain strange and to me it seemed like the whole family suffered from a genetic mental illness. The father was abusive and made me cringe just thinking about him and what he was capable of doing. Poor Materia, the mother, was just a figure to be pitied and I actually did feel a lot for her and her plot in life. Kathleen I never liked and thought she was quite spoiled.

The whole plot is extremely sad and there really aren't any glimmers of joy in the entire novel. Things just kept getting more depraved and depressing and it made me sad just to read it. The language is beautiful and clear and MacDonald is a tremendous writer. It makes me wonder what she could do if she decided to write something a little happier. I'd probably love it. But the downward spiral of this book just made it hard for me to completely enjoy the writing. It also liked to jump back and forth a little bit in time and also through a diary so it could be somewhat hard to figure out the who, what, when, where at times. A reader should be warned that there are some extremely heavy themes not limited to just abuse in this novel. It can be disturbing.

Lovely written but just too sad. I'd recommend it but not for an easygoing light read.

Fall on Your Knees
Copyright 1996
508 pages

Review by M. Reynard 2011

More of my reviews can be found at www.ifithaswords.blogspot.com

kpower's review against another edition

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dark emotional tense medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? It's complicated
  • Loveable characters? It's complicated
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

4.5

jessthebookworm's review against another edition

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2.0

This is a novel set in a coal mining community in Canada and spans from before World War I, through the roaring 20s, and the great depression, as it follows the story of the Piper family.

It follows the characters of James Piper as he marries his child bride Materia, who comes from a conservative Catholic Lebonese family, and due to the scandal of their marriage, is disinherited. They start to have children, and then everything starts to get twisted. It appears that Mr Piper has way too much of a liking for young girls, and especially one of his own daughters.

The book covers many dark themes: statutory rape, rape, suicide, incest, depression, prostitution.

But, even besides all of the above, I actually found myself to be bored while reading this. I really wanted to start skim reading at one point, and then really contemplated giving up on it altogether. But I did push through, and it was an intriguing story, just not something that really gripped me.

trulybooked's review against another edition

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5.0

Heartbreaking, poignant and sad. The characters are so real and even when you hate them, you can't help but love something in each and every single one of them. The writing pulls you in so fast that it's dizzying.

sephranix's review against another edition

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3.0

Wow, what to say about this book.... so much drama. Frances was probably my favorite character, but they were all just a little bit too fucked up.

talgreen's review

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dark emotional mysterious reflective sad tense medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? It's complicated
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

4.5

oliviaja's review

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Not the right time for me

justfoxie's review against another edition

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4.0

This book drove me absolutely batty. I spent nearly 75% of it wandering "what exactly is the point" and then - wham - book 8 comes along and knocks me for six. This is definitely a book where the author is playing the long game and only in retrospect can you truly appreciate what unfolds. Grumpy making but in the most satisfying way.

haileyboehner's review

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4.0

I had no idea what this book was about, and therefore little to no expectations going into it - but WOW. What makes this a masterpiece is MacDonald's ability to write about horrific things but puts it forward to the reader in a way that almost makes you realize whats happening after its happened. It is a technique in writing that I have only seen a few times, but I've never seen used in such a masterful way. Her writing is beautiful in itself, plenty of metaphors and similes that paint a perfect picture of her scenes. This book had a few times were it got a bit slow (it is a big book) but overall the story really kept you on your toes. This story of a Nova Scotian family through multiple generations is a truly heartbreaking read that will have you thinking about it for days after.

4.25/5

TW: sexual abuse, domestic abuse, violence

randi_in_horrorland's review against another edition

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4.0

This is going to be a tough book to review. I’m giving it four stars right now, but it’s possible that this rating might change in the future because I just don’t know how I feel about this book right now.
This book is about the Piper family—a mixed family (white and Arab) living in Cape Breton, Canada. The majority of the story takes place during the First World War but begins before then and extends well past the Second World War.
The book begins as this story of how this family comes together and the challenges they must overcome. It’s a beautiful historical story! But, as the story trudges along, things get really messed the heck up. I started having to take breaks from the book because my mind couldn’t wrap around the events occurring. I kept thinking, “wtf is happening? Holy shit as if this just happened!”
I struggled with the religious portions of the book, only because I am not religious at all. I know that it was a large part of the belief system in the past, but it was a hard pill to swallow when the author is writing from the minds of 9 year old girls who can’t even play properly without upsetting God.
There was a major grief emotion plot in the book. It shows how all the different characters dealt with their own stages of grief. I feel that it was incredibly well done.
Ultimately, this was a tough book to read. There are A LOT of triggers, so fair warning about that. But, I am happy to have read it.