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Before You Know Kindness
Before You Know Kindness
Author: Chris Bohjalian
On a balmy July night in New Hampshire a shot rings out in a garden, and a man falls to the ground, terribly wounded. The wounded man is Spencer McCullough, the shot that hit him was fired?accidentally??by his adolescent daughter Charlotte. With this shattering moment of violence, Chris Bohjalian launches the best kind of literate page-turner: s...  more »
ISBN-13: 9781400031658
ISBN-10: 1400031656
Publication Date: 8/9/2005
Pages: 448
  • Currently 3.4/5 Stars.

3.4 stars, based on 270 ratings
Publisher: Vintage
Book Type: Paperback
Other Versions: Hardcover, Audio Cassette, Audio CD
Reviews: Member | Amazon | Write a Review

Top Member Book Reviews

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 + 72 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.
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reviewed Before You Know Kindness on + 65 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 + 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.