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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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."
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.