Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Review: Fall On Your Knees - Ann-Marie MacDonald

Title: Fall On Your Knees
Author: Ann-Marie MacDonald
Date Read: May 31, 2007
Rating: 4.5/5

I picked this book up several years ago at the Plano Book Sale, and I'm not sure why I let it sit on my shelf for so many years, but it did (along with all my other TBRs). In May I joined a few book clubs on Yahoo, and this was the selection for Bookworms Reading Group. I joined too late to join in any of the discussion, but I was glad it gave me the push I needed to read this book. Who knows how long it would have sat along side all the other poor TBRs before I finally went for it.

Fall On Your Knees is the story of the Piper family. The beginning of the novel gives the reader snapshots (almost literally) of the Piper family mentioning that they are all dead now. What a beginning! James Piper falls in love with the younger Materia Mahmoud; they fall in love, elope, and she is disowned by her Lebanese father. The book follows three generations of Pipers, unraveling the secrets of their sordid pasts. Because of the complex nature of the novel, it is difficult for me to write this review and not give away any details. So, perhaps I'll just outline some of the themes.

Themes prevalent throughout the novel: The novel deals with an number of themes including religion (specifically catholic), teenage prostitution, miscegenation, alcoholism, child abuse--wow, what a downer. Despite the very heavy themes of the novel, MacDonald has a way of showing the love the family possesses and the redemption that can be claimed as the novel comes full circle at the end.

Recommendation: Hmm, I'm not sure who I would recommend this book to. It's not light reading, and the themes are rather depressing, but I thought it was very well-written. MacDonald plays around with perspective as she constantly (and almost fluidly) switches from third person to first person with all of the characters. She also gives pieces to the puzzle throughout the novel in different forms such as diary entries, articles, letters, and even sometimes poetry. If you're looking for something different, try this one out.


Kelly said...

We read this for bookclub a couple of months ago. Very heavy!

Petunia said...

I am intrigued by your review. I'll have to give this title a test drive.

Chris said...

As you've seen, I'm reading this now. I have a unique take on it since the places in the book are ones that I know very well. I can't wait to finish!

Anonymous said...

absolutely love it.
very heavy, but definately a great read.

Anonymous said...

This book was one of my TBRs as well, sitting on the shelf for years.
I just finished reading it and I think it's one of the best I've ever read. I was fascinated with the many sides to this story and I loved the style. It is heavy, shocking and thought-provoking. Sue from Hungary

Anonymous said...

If you enjoyed Fall on your knees,I recommend another book by Ann-Marie MacDaonad
- The way the crow flies. It is not as complicated a story as Fall on your knees but very well written and follows a family, starting in the early 1960s in Canada.