I cannot find the words to describe this book. I didn't like it at first, but then I was unable to put it down and unable to forget it after I finished it. Definitely one of the most gripping novels I've ever read. It will make you laugh, it will repulse you, and it will horrify you, all the while keep you reading it. It's the first Oprah book I've read, but it won't be the last.
Disturbing, engaging, dark tale of a family that's not quite "right" - the only one that is seemingly well-adjusted is the one who we read about in letters from long ago, when she was alive and living far away from the family. The eerie reason for the disjointed familial relations you won't discover until the end of the book. I was left with a "Sixth-Sense" type feeling, where I was forced to think back on what I'd read in a different light.
One of my all-time favorites. This was out of print when I read it-- a coworker gave it to me who also loved it. I sent an email through Oprah's website because I thought it was tragic that people could no longer get this fabulous story. (I NEVER feel that strongly to actually email!) Well, two months later Oprah's selection was... take a guess. Coincidence? Well, I choose to take credit for supplying the world with all those additional copies. (You're WELCOME. LOL)
This is my absolute favorite book! I reread it every year or two and always find something new in it. The characters are amazingly complex, the storyline is engrossing and shocking. I find myself thinking about it for weeks after finishing it every time! FANTASTIC!
This book is beautifully written....so beautifully written that I couldn't stop reading in spite of the fact that it was very weird and disturbing. Four generations of such amazing disfunction that no one was completely sane. Yet, I couldn't put it down.
This book will leave you changed. It is one of the most poignant books I've ever read. The story is captivating all the way to the end. Yes, it concerns disturbing material, but the way the author gets into the minds of the characters is extraordinary and leaves you touched with sadness at their loss.
This family epic demonstrates how tragedy in our childhood can affect our whole lives. This very dark and beautifully written story is sometimes painful to read...... but you won't beable to tear yourself away from it. It will touch you and stay with you a very long time!
So engrossing- the author takes time through multiple generations to build up intense characters and slowly reveals where their paths take them. An especially great read for a book club that has time to process all the many themes.
I have given up on Oprah's book club, and I don't take her reviews very seriously any more. The last 3 Oprah book club books that I read were very disappointing. This book is very dark and as I read, I kept thinking, why do I care to keep reading this.
I picked it up because it was suggested by Oprah... I COULD NOT PUT IT DOWN!!!! I was very stressful and disturbing but also SO difficult to turn away from. Despite it's taboo themes "Fall On Your Knees" was a very good read! Definately Recomend it!
This is an all time favorite for me. The richness of the characters and absolute depth of storytelling as you span time with the Piper family is simple and sheer brilliance. The dark and haunting undertones of child bride molestation and incest are disturbing for folks looking for vanilla pleasantries in reading, so beware if these areas will offend you. However, if you can get past the taboo of it, you'll fully appreciate MacDonald's gift of spinning a satisfying tale from start to finish.
Deep book that spans the lives of four sisters. It's a story of family bons, of terrible secrets, miracles, racial strife, attempted murder, birth and death, and forbidden love. This book and it's intricate story will stay with you for weeks after you have finished the book. Well worth reading.
This book was hard for me to put down, its well written and the characters have great depth to them. Although the ending left me feeling a bit confused, I still enjoyed every minute of it. Gives you a nice glimpse into life on a small island in Canada with people who originally came from Scotland. You won't regret this one.
This book was given to me several years ago and it st on my bookshelf collecting dust. One day I picked it up on a whim, thinking I'll start this on my lunch hour. Well, I started reading and I was hooked. I could not put it down and read it at every opportunity I could find. The book is compelling. I can't recommend it enough. Especially if you are a fan of family saga type stories.
The story was dynamic, interesting and enchanting. At times it got a little long, but it never occurred to me to put it down and walk away. As the story explores four generations of this family, it made me think of my own family and appreciate our dysfunction as far less complicated than the characters. I liked the way in which the author told the story and described Cape Breton. Just beautiful!
A memorable book of depth and intensity: from racial boundaries and war to family secrets, incest, religion and relationships, there's little this book leaves out. Set in the coal-mining communities of Nova Scotia in the early twentieth century, the scene also shifts to the battlefields of World War I and the jazz scene of New York City in the 1920s.
It's a multi-generational story of a family from Nova Scotia. The most compelling stories lie within the four surviving children of the family - four girls, with a spectrum of unique personalities. The parents of the girls and their grandparents are there too. Some characters you will love others not, but undoubtedly will not leave your mind for a long time after you finish the book.
Fine writing and a compelling tale: but then, being a Canuck, maybe I'm prejudiced?
My mother recommended this book to me and I have to say, I found it very disturbing. Tell me about disfuntional families! We know they exist but this one tops them all. I've never thought things like this would happen, where were social services? Why didn't anyone do anything about this? I don't know if this is fiction or real, but it is heartbreaking to say the least.
The story of a family living on Cape Breton Island off Nova Scotia. A multigenerational saga and chronicles the lives of four unforgettable sisters. By turns menacingly dark and hilariously funny. A must read!
A very good read - a big, sprawling family drama that has more than its fair share of secrets, lies and betrayals throughout. It was very funny at times, although it was really a pretty dark humor, and thought-provoking as well. Lots of cultural issues are presented through various interactions in the book but not shoved down your throat as the reader. I would recommend it to anyone who enjoys the "generational" family dramas a la Joyce Carol Oates.
This book shocked me, not with its story line, which was very different, but by the way it gripped me so tightly. A sad book, as most sagas are, set on an island off of Nova Scotia, and is mostly the lives of four very different sisters.
Oprah's Book Club. From the back cover: This resonant first novel has a mythic quality that allows dark, half-buried secrets to be gracefully and chillingly revealed."-John Motyka, New York Times Reviea
I picked up this book without knowing anything about it or reading any prior reviews or even knowing that it was an Oprah's book selection.
I read the first few chapters, was bored and put it aside. When I saw that it was available as an audio book, I got it from PBS because sometimes when I'm not getting into a book by reading it, when I listen to it, it becomes more interesting. That happens more than you'd think if there is a great narrator.
My first impression was correct. The book is a waste of time - boring, wordy, uninteresting - dull. The audio version didn't capture my attention either and the narrator was just so-so.
This book was confusing to me. I felt the story of the sisters was interesting enough, but didn't understand the reason for the incest. The character development of the father never tells us why he would do such a thing. It's easy enough to figure out why all the girls turn out the way they do, but I was left with a big question mark about the whole reason for the book to begin with. This book was uncomfortable in places, although I never felt like there was action or drama just for the sake of creating action or drama to make the book more interesting. It all fit, and I found myself really feeling sorry for the girls, especially Francis. I usually have very specific feelings about a book when I'm done with it, but this one has left me with more questions than answers, especially regarding the father and Lilly.
This book jumps around a lot so sometimes it can be hard to follow. I read it twice and it was much better the second time around. Very well written!! There is also a lot of foreign language that I didn't understand. It was a difficult read but very worth it.
I had an very unusual reaction (for me) to this book: I really wish I had never read it. It is that disturbing. And I don't think I've ever said that about a book.... Yes it is well-written, yes you can't forget it once you're done, but...! To me, it was just heart-breaking.
If the mark of a good book is you can't forget it once you're done, then this is a good book -- but I wish I had never gone there.
IOW, very well-written, but I wouldn't recommend it.
I wanted to like this book but it was tough. The writing style was not my favorite at all and I had trouble caring about the characters. I persisted through about 350 pages before finally giving up because I realized I didn't care how it ended :(
I had read a review on this book from another member. Their review of the book sounded as if they absolutely hated it. Well I have the book and I hate not to read any book that I have. So I started it. After each page I had to go on to the next one. Next thing you know I had finished the book. If you get shocked by sexual content,don't read it. The story line is good but a bit on the dark side. Full of strange family secrets. It's the only book that I have read that I truthfully can't say wheather I liked it or not.
I've had this book for a while but didn't open it until my book club chose it as our recent selection. As soon as I started reading I had a hard time putting it down. While the Pipers were a fairly disturbing family, MacDonald made them believable and interesting. I felt sorry for them and was disgusted and irritated at them all at the same time. MacDonald is a wonderul writer.
this is an amazing read. most of oprah's books, the first chapter i think to myself, "ok. has she finally failed me? where is this thing going?" but by the second and third i could not put it down. i've been devouring it every chance i get, and i find i keep thinking now, "what's going to happen next?" only to remember i've finished the book. i thought i had everything figured out about it until the end, and i was surprised, but satisfied.
OH! I enjoyed this book so much.It was darker and more detailed than "we were the mulvaneys" a many generational story that was a gret read as well. Once I started,I had to finish,the author pulls you along,building towards the end.The end was a surprise in itself,I confess,I had to reread the last chapter. This author has a great way of writing,and I look forward to reading another by her.
I could give this book a higher review simply because I recognize that it is well-written, but to be honest - I just don't want to due to way I felt after reading it. It is one of the darkest, most hopeless, dismal reads I've ever experienced. Just depressing in the extreme. I soldiered on with it and then when I read the last page felt a great relief that it was at long last, over and wished that I had not subjected myself to it. An intricate, involved story and compelling in its own way but . . . . no, not for me.
This book takes the reader through the lives of a family of daughters in the late 19th century and into the 20th century. The family is very disfunctional and the father leads incestuous relationships with various daughters along the way. It is sad, that the society shelters this as these girls become women of their own right trying to make sense of their lives.
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 Nova Scotia, This book is an internationally acclaimed multigenerational saga that chronicles the lives of four unforgettable sisters. Theirs is a world filled with driving ambition, inescapable family bonds, and forbidden love. Compellingly written, by turns menacinly dark and hilariously funny, this epic tale of five generations of sin, guilt, and redemption.
If you are a fan of Oprah's Club books this will grab and hold your attention! Its an epic, multi-generational novel about an immigrant family in Nova Scotia. There are many fascinating ups and downs in their lives and some some very disturbing and surprising secrets that gradually are revealed.
I enjoyed this book that told about the lives of several generations in a family in Nova Scotia. Mainly its the story of four sisters, one of which is really a daughter...and a father who is really a grandfather. Well you'll have to check it out. Kind of dark but interesting.
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 Nova Scotia, Fall on Your Knees is an internationally acclaimed multigenerational saga that chronicles the lives of 4 unforgettable sisters. Theirs is a world filled with diving ambition, inescapable family bonds, and forbidden love.
While this book was well written, it reads more like an atrociously long poem than a book, it is probably one of the worst books I have ever read. Their are no redeeming qualities in any of the characters except maybe Trixie, and even Trixie is disfigured. I think she seriously had a "grab bag of horrors" and picked from it every few pages to choose what would happen next, just to keep you interested, when the only thing you really want is for it to stop. The problems with this book are endless. The thing that made me the most angry was that the author is obviously good at writing, she just decided to write 500 pages that will ensure I never pick up another book penned by her in the future. I wanted to throw the book across the room by about chapter 3, the only thing that kept me from doing that was my sleeping son and my penchant for finishing every book I start.
from the cover: "this resonant first novel has a mythic quality that allows dark, half-buried secrets to be gracefully and chillingly revealed." I was mesmerized by this book - despite its heavy theme it's beautifully and artfully written. But it's not for the faint of heart.
Following the curves of history in the first half of the twentieth centry, Fall on Your Knees takes us from haunted Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia, through the battlefields of World War I, to the emerging jazz scene in New York City, and into the lives of four unforgettable sisters.
The mythically charged family - James, a father of intelligence and immense ambition; Materia, his Lebanese child-bride; and their daughters: Kathleen, the eldest, a beautiful talent preparing for a career as an opera diva; Frances, incorrigible liar and hell-bent bad girl; Mercedes, obsessive Catholic and protector of the flock; and Lily, the adored invalid who takes us on a quest for truth and redemption.
I really don't know what to say about this book.
It wasn't good, it wasn't bad, it just was....
It was a really long book, it had a lot of information. The end was ... neat.(?)
I really don't have much to say about this book. I am glad I read it though if that makes any sense. :)
A multigenerational saga that chronicles the lives of four sisters.
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.
"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." - beachrunnerjkn courtesy of Amazon Reviews
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 islalnd off Nova Scotia, this book chronicles the multigenerational saga of four unforgettable sisters. Compelling, menacingly dark and hilariously funny.
James a father of intelligence and immensense ambition, his lebanese child bride and their daughters Kathleen the eldest a beautiful talent preparing for her career as an oper diva: Frances, incorrigible liar and hell bent bad girl, Mercedes, obsessive Catholic and protector of the flock: and Lily the adored invalid who takes us on a quest for the truth and redemption-is supported by a richly textured cast of characters
"A sprawling saga about five generations of a family from Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, Fall on Your Knees is the impressive first fiction from Canadian playwright and actor Ann-Marie MacDonald. This epic tale of family history, family secrets, and music centers on four sisters and their relationships with each other and with their father. Set in the coal-mining communities of Nova Scotia in the early part of this century, the story also shifts to the battlefields of World War I and the jazz scene of New York City in the 1920s."
I found the book to be haunting, but quite interesting.