Book Reviews of Before You Know Kindness

Before You Know Kindness
Before You Know Kindness
Author: Chris Bohjalian
ISBN-13: 9781400031658
ISBN-10: 1400031656
Publication Date: 8/9/2005
Pages: 448
Rating:
  • Currently 3.4/5 Stars.
 269

3.4 stars, based on 269 ratings
Publisher: Vintage
Book Type: Paperback
Reviews: Amazon | Write a Review

53 Book Reviews submitted by our Members...sorted by voted most helpful

reviewed Before You Know Kindness on + 11 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 17
I am a fan of Chris Bohjalian, having read several of his previous books. I have especially always liked the thoughtful treatment he gives complex and delicate issues. This book, unfortunately, was a big disappointment. It's over 400 pages long, and easily could have been half this if it was pared down to the essential issues. For some reason, he found it necessary to examine even the smallest details from each character's point of view, which got very tedious, particularly when each person had a similar take on the situation. Additionally, he found it important to go over and over and over the same issues - there is a big secret that the girl who shot her father is hiding and she and her cousin discuss it ad nauseum. Again, I found this very tedious. I ended up skimming the last 100 pages and still feel like I didn't miss anything. My final criticism is that he didn't follow that writer's axiom - write what you know. He clearly knows very little about adolescent girls - other than that they are *boy crazy*!!!) and it showed.
reviewed Before You Know Kindness on + 71 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 13
This book was different, in my opinion, from Bohjalian's other works (at least those I've read - Midwives, Trans-sister Radio, Buffalo Soldier, The Law of Similars...), and at first I wasn't sure I liked it. Halfway through the book I was even thinking I might put it down. But I'm so glad I didn't - it was well worth it. Another great read from him. I do still think he's better with the shorter novels that really pack a punch, but at the same time it was great getting to know these characters a bit more intimately. Great use of different character perspectives in telling the story (although it's not one of those obvious devices like naming the chapters after the primary speaker).
reviewed Before You Know Kindness on + 4 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 11
I am a huge fan, but this one disappointed me.
reviewed Before You Know Kindness on + 15 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 10
This book was quite interesting. I love how it intertwines two familes within one family, connecting all of them: Aunts and nieces, brother and brother-n-law...the family dynamics within this book are great. The depth of the charachters are evident throughout the read. The legality issues were not as quite interesting in the book, at least for me. Overall, a great, easy read.
reviewed Before You Know Kindness on + 186 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 9
Enthralling! Bohjalian never writes commonplace stories. It's families in crisis, but with far more interesting challenges than you encounter elsewhere.
reviewed Before You Know Kindness on + 166 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 7
Another of Bohjalian's skillful blendings of family dynamics and timely social issues. A difficult, opinionated animal rights activist is seriously wounded by a shot fired from a gun owned by his brother-in-law, who has recently - and quietly - taken up hunting as a sport. Bad enough, but the gun was fired by the activist's own adolescent daughter - and no one is being entirely honest about the circumstances.
reviewed Before You Know Kindness on + 5 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 7
This had a lot of potential which I did not think it lived up to. He tried to do too much by changing point of view and I think he'd have been more successful if he'd stuck with one point of view and tried to do less. Still a good read just not as good as some of his others.
reviewed Before You Know Kindness on + 84 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 6
This is a wonderful book with many thought provoking ideas. I LOVE this writer's writing style!
reviewed Before You Know Kindness on + 38 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 5
An excellently written book exploring animal rights & gun control through a very personal family story.
reviewed Before You Know Kindness on + 84 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 4
I thought that this was a really good book. Mr. Bohjalin always writes controversial issues for the readers to contend with, and this book is no exception. It is about a young girl who shoots her father one night, mistaking him for a deer. Her father is an avid animal rights activist. The different perspectives of what happened that night are entwined throughout the story so it is not fully revealed until the end. The book keeps the reader entrigued and hungry for more.
reviewed Before You Know Kindness on + 31 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 3
Read it long enough ago to have forgotten the specifics, but it was on my "keeper" shelf, so I'd have to give it at least 4 stars.
reviewed Before You Know Kindness on + 5 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 3
Great book. A little long winded at times but still a good read.
reviewed Before You Know Kindness on + 29 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 3
Started off slow, but got better as it went on.
reviewed Before You Know Kindness on + 18 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 3
Absolutely the most boring book I have ever read.
reviewed Before You Know Kindness on
Helpful Score: 2
I like the story line a great deal. The pace is a bit slow.
reviewed Before You Know Kindness on + 102 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
Great book - a real page turner!
reviewed Before You Know Kindness on + 9 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
A very interesting book about family relationships. Begins very dramatically with a murder. The latter half is less suspenseful, but I enjoyed it nonetheless!
reviewed Before You Know Kindness on + 25 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
This is a true page turner - you never know what is going to happen - really worth reading.
reviewed Before You Know Kindness on + 51 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
This author is ALWAYS a good read - intelligently written and thought out, as well as a page turner!
reviewed Before You Know Kindness on + 9 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
what happens when a young girl accidentally wounds her father with a shotgun? Interesting exploration of family dynamics in a time of stress.
reviewed Before You Know Kindness on + 6 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
Compelling read
reviewed Before You Know Kindness on + 48 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
very convincing portrait of a family, with particularly strong characterizations of the two adolescent cousins and their grandmother
reviewed Before You Know Kindness on + 102 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
Great book - a real page turner!
reviewed Before You Know Kindness on + 12 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
A great read -- I enjoyed tremendously.
reviewed Before You Know Kindness on + 222 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
Very good story but I got bogged down about 3/4 of the way thru. It may have been the small print(which may only have seemed small to me).
reviewed Before You Know Kindness on + 15 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
Very good. Much different than expected and fascinating ending. Never saw it coming
reviewed Before You Know Kindness on + 89 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
BEFORE YOU KNOW KINDNESS is about a 12 year old girl who shoots her father by accident, causing him to lose all function and feeling in the arm. It is a sad story in many ways, but also shows how tragedy can change people in different and remarkable ways.

A large part of the book is dedicated to the animal activist cause. For me, it was pretty radical. The dad who was shot was an avid vegan and animal rights activist. This plays a huge role in the story.

I like Bohjalian as an author. I had to learn again that he takes his time and allows the plot to unfold slowly. I did not find this to be a quick read, but it was fascinating and very readable.

A good read!
reviewed Before You Know Kindness on + 11 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
Bohjalian gives thoughtful treatment to complex and delicate issues and has skill for great character developement.
reviewed Before You Know Kindness on + 43 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
Good book if you can make it through it. Could have been cut in half. Lots of filler stories.
reviewed Before You Know Kindness on + 133 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
story of the conflict that an accidental shooting causes to 3 generations of a family. pretty good read.
reviewed Before You Know Kindness on
Helpful Score: 1
I am a fan of Chris Bohjaian's other work, but this book I could not even finish. There is not one redeeming character in it, nobody to root for. Don't waste your time on this one, just read his other stuff, especially "Double Bind."
reviewed Before You Know Kindness on + 55 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
I am a fan of Bohjalian's but I really couldn't even make it though this book. I found it to be dreadfully boring and the story just didn't go anywhere. The description on the back cover had me hoping for a good read but sadly it wasn't.

I would suggest you read other books by this author, IMO they are much better.
reviewed Before You Know Kindness on + 165 more book reviews
I was intrigued by the plot of this book, as described on the jacket, but couldn't make it till the end...the writer has a way with words but isn't a great storyteller...more descriptions of people and relationships than an interesting story. I was disappointed.
reviewed Before You Know Kindness on
Per usual,Mr.Bohjalian does an outstanding job.I get totally immersed in his stories,but then I finish the book too soon! I am now reading "Idyll Banter",I enjoy these snippets of Vermont life!
reviewed Before You Know Kindness on + 354 more book reviews
Chris Bohjalian has previously written novels that provide "food for thought" for his readers. This novel also lends itself well to introspection and character examination. By the end of the book, the reader is well acquainted with the flaws and strengths of the main characters. At the conclusion, I was sympathetic to all of them - even Spencer, whose pomposity and unyielding righteousness had made him very unlikeable. This is, on the surface, a novel about vegans vs. hunters; however, what makes it spellbinding is the knowledge of the characters we glean. I think we also take away the irrefutable fact that good things do sometimes result from tragic circumstances.
reviewed Before You Know Kindness on + 209 more book reviews
I love this author but this book was boring and I couldnt get into it, I quit after I reread the first few chapters twice since I figured the first time I wasnt in the right state of mind.....sometimes I think popular authors in the quest to "produce" and meet their publishers deadlines decrease their quality and turn out substandard product. This seems to be, in my humble opinion, one of those times.
reviewed Before You Know Kindness on + 23 more book reviews
Good read about what happens when all the rules go elsewhere if it's your own child involved in accidentally shooting her own father during a summer vacation. Chris Bohjalian can weave a story quite well, but when it comes to trying to describe breastfeeding, he fails, as his description is what a person, who has never breastfed an infant, would view it to be. People who write should never go into an area about what something feels like, until they've researched or asked someone who knows. I don't know why this bothered me, but I am kind of a stickler on realism, especially in fiction such as this. Still, the rest of the book had great conflict and storyline.
reviewed Before You Know Kindness on + 20 more book reviews
Bohjlian is a beautiful writer. and his characters find themselves in a tangled situation where there are no easy answers. To me, the most important theme was to whom do you show your commitment, to a cause, or to your family, the people you see everyday? Also, when tragedy occurs, is it really necessary to blame, or is that energy better spent supporting and comforting those affected? This author never settles for easy or cliched answers.
reviewed Before You Know Kindness on + 8 more book reviews
This story was well written, but I sort of had to force myself to get through the middle of the book. Interesting subject and tension in the story, but it felt a little drawn out and slow moving.
reviewed Before You Know Kindness on + 64 more book reviews
I've always thought of Chris Bohjalian as a subtler, more sophisticated Jodi Picoult. He takes complex, controversial topics & writes novels centered around them. This is another of those books. At times, I was intrigued. At other times, I found the book tedious. Overall, a good read if you can find the patience for it.
reviewed Before You Know Kindness on
Very interesting, the topics included in the novel, very well written
reviewed Before You Know Kindness on + 59 more book reviews
Unlike most of the other reviews this was the first book ive read by Chris Bohjalian. After reading this book I am definately interested in his other works. You can tell he his delicate and thought provoking when he writes. BUT this book as a stand alone i would not reccomend to most people unless they was a 'sunny day mystery type read'

If it wasnt for the mystery i would have stopped reading.
You can tell he has talent, its just not showcased fully in this novel. I give this book 2 stars out of 5.
reviewed Before You Know Kindness on + 12 more book reviews
Even though it is slow at parts, I loved this book and couldn't put it down. Bohjalian is such an amazing writer that I found myself rereading phrases just to appreciate their complexity or humor.
reviewed Before You Know Kindness on
I have really enjoyed Chris Bohjalian books in the past, but did not like this one.
reviewed Before You Know Kindness on + 157 more book reviews
This was good, but not great. I really enjoyed Midwives, but this book doesn't hold a candle to Midwives. It didn't suck eggs, but didn't rock my world either.
reviewed Before You Know Kindness on + 21 more book reviews
Another fine work by one of my favorite authors - a little bit mystery, a little bit family values, a little bit environment, and 100% New England.
reviewed Before You Know Kindness on + 46 more book reviews
Unusual story, very well written. Satisfying conclusion.
reviewed Before You Know Kindness on
Great!
reviewed Before You Know Kindness on + 266 more book reviews
All I can say is that it started off with a bang.
reviewed Before You Know Kindness on + 2268 more book reviews
This is just long winded and boring, just so much useless words on a page that mean nothing, goes nowhere EVER and just boring. you're right! I didn't finish it!
reviewed Before You Know Kindness on + 3 more book reviews
Great audio book.
reviewed Before You Know Kindness on + 309 more book reviews
My sister and I read the same books, and while I did not red this one, my sister did, and again she was disappointed with this author. We both really liked "Midwives", but nothing much since then.
reviewed Before You Know Kindness on + 44 more book reviews
On a balmy July night in New Hampshire a shot rings out in a garden, and a man falls to the ground, terrible wounded. The wounded man is Spencer McCullough, the shot that hit him was fired-accidently?- by his adolescent daughter, Charlotte. With this shattering moment of violence, Chris Bojalian launches the best kind of literate page-turner: suspenseful, wryly funny and humane.