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Fall On Your Knees (Oprah's Book Club)

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Format: Paperback

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Book Overview

The Piper family is steeped in secrets, lies, and unspoken truths. At the eye of the storm is one secret that threatens to shake their lives -- even destroy them. Set on stormy Cape Breton Island off... This description may be from another edition of this product.

Customer Reviews

5 ratings

Breathtaking and Beautifully Written

This book has so much depth and intensity that it is difficult to find the words to review it with. From racial boundries and war to familial issues, incest, religion and different levels of relationships, there is little this book leaves out. And yet, unlike some authors who try to tackle too much, Ms. MacDonald succeeds in covering it all beautifully.This book is about multi-generations of a family from Nova Scotia. The most compelling stories lie within the four surviving children of the family -- four girls, each one incredibly different from the next. The parents of the girls are an interesting component of the book, as are the grandparents -- and the father plays a large, highly impactful, role in the lives of the girls. Some characters you will love others not, but undoubtedly no one in the Piper family will leave your mind for a long time. The stories and plights of this family are unbelievable and breathtaking. The book brings in different twists, turns and surprises on every page, and I found myself having to turn back pages in order to gain new insights into what really happened. Nothing is ever what it seems, and nothing is what you expect it to be. This book is incredible -- anyone who appreciates artistry in writing, and compelling stories that take you through a full gamut of emotions and thoughts -- that develop your mind as a reader,will love this book.

A gripping, dark story about family secrets.

First of all, since I grew up in the area described in the book, it was of special interest to me: I could actually picture the scenes. The story is gripping - couldn't put it down until I finished every page. It's representative of what we don't want to know is out there: family dysfunction, pain, anguish and dispair. But let's be fair: one review mentioned that this was a portrait of the darknes of Nova Scotia. It's a portrait of a hard lifestyle: whether it be coal mining communities in Cape Breton or steel workers in industrial centres in the U.S. These people don't choose these jobs because they're enjoyable - they choose them because they're there, and they have families to support. And it's not just the miners who struggle: it's the whole community. And beyond it all, along with the nice families who all get along and have nice Christmas dinners together, are the families such as portrayed in this novel: the ties that bind are blood, and there's a terrible ambivilance between love and hate; need to be a family and need to destroy each other. The institutions we're supposed to see as the foundation for our lives,such as family, church and community, are sometimes our destruction. Anne-Marie MacDonald makes you live all emotions in her eloquent portrayal of this symphony of discord. I'm not sure I liked how I felt at the end of the novel, but therein lies the talent of the artist. Life is sometimes ugly, and quite frankly, this book left me feeling pretty damned good about my own life. A book that will stand the test of time. But prepare yourself for the voyage.

Oprah has made a good choice

This book, recommended to me by one of my college students, is one of those novels you can simply dive into and lose yourself in. Although I also read, and enjoy, punchy, sardonic, razor-edge writing like "The Corrections" (Franzen) and "White Noise" (DeLillo), this book is far from those styles. It's an old-fashioned "good read," focusing deeply on each character and twisting them around one another in endless ways. There is obsession here, the darkest kind, and yet the book is also, in places, heartbreaking in its compassion for the characters. The most interesting of the four sisters, to me, was Frances. Mostly because her spinning out of control was unlike any I've read before. Her longing and misery, and her many idiosyncrasies, make her an unforgettable character.The story of the parents in this story is so dismal in spots, that it brought to mind "Angela's Ashes," though the plot is nothing close.I think that what makes this book stand apart from other good reads is the feeling that the author truly came to love her characters. And the story is so multi-faceted and surprising that it fully earns its 500-plus pages.Great book. I haven't read many of "Oprah's" book club choices, but I applaud her on this choice.

Breathtaking, Riveting, Difficult

I just finished this book last night. Rarely do I read a book that I am unable to put down. But immediately upon reading the first chapter, I found myself submerged in the world of Cape Breton and the Piper family. It wasn't the plot that kept me reading (until the last 2 sections); it was the writing, the language, the sheer intensity, passion and power of the book.This is not an easy book to read. People do horrible things to each other - and to themselves - in this book. But, unlike some modern novels I have read and DISLIKED (e.g. Book of Ruth), there is redemption at the end. And I think that is important. I see the heart of this novel as being about what it means to be a family. It's about the stories that families create, and how those stories define a family. And, in the end, how it is love that creates a family. Not marriage, not birth, not religion. Love, with all its messiness and selfishness, purity and desire and hope.Other reviewers have described the language of this story. I do not find it overdone. It seems to me that MacDonald uses it carefully, expertly, respectful of its power, unleashing its intensity when appropriate.If you are disturbed by stories about dysfunctional families or unconventional relationships, don't read this book. If you are willing to leave your body for a few days and immerse yourself in another world, if you are willing to be angered, amused, and touched to your core, then buy this book, and read it soon.

A Captivating, beautiful novel

I bought this book while attending a production of the author's "Good Night Desdemona (Good Morning Juliet)" in London. I liked her style and gave it a shot. What a rewarding gamble! Six pounds bought me a weeks worth of the best reading I've had "Their Eyes Were Watching God." The weighty novel took me only a week to read because I couldn't put it down: I read it on the Tube, in lines, before bed, while cooking. MacDonald writes prose like poetry- words to be tasted, but even more, as an actor these were characters that I no only could imagine being performed, but who I wanted to characterize. I recommend not only this novel, but MacDonald's other works also. Her background as an actor and a playwrite among other skills grounds this tragic family in reality, in experience. MacDonald doesn't have to force the issues she addresses, they are simply an organic part of the writing. Perhaps the most beautiful aspect of her writing is the lack of judgement placed on the characters. MacDonald shows them for what they are and lets them speak for themselves. Hooray for a multi talented woman with a voice!

Fall on Your Knees Mentions in Our Blog

Fall on Your Knees in 12 Books About Families that Take Dysfunction to a New Level
12 Books About Families that Take Dysfunction to a New Level
Published by Ashly Moore Sheldon • December 18, 2019

You may be gearing up for some boisterous (read volatile) holiday get-togethers with the family. How about some stories of highly dysfunctional clans to get you in the right frame of mind? Here are twelve books that will leave you thinking, "Well, we're not that bad!"

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