Review: After the Falls by Catherine Gildiner

8 Feb

Random House Canada, 2009

I’m not normally a fan of memoirs. Quite often I find then self indulgent and more than a little whiny. But when I had the chance to read Catherine Gildiner’s memoir After the Falls as part of an online book club started by Marci at Serendipitous Readings, I thought, What the heck? I’ll give it a go. I started reading it one evening and after staying up until 5 am finishing it, I’m awfully glad I did.

I unfortunately wasn’t around for the 60s, but through the author’s description of the era, I felt like I was there. I was pulled not only into the personal aspects of the book, but the time period as a whole.

While After the Falls is essentially Gildiner’s story, there were plenty of other people weaving in and out of her life. I loved the fact that she would introduce a person and rather than simply let their story end when they were no longer part of her life, she fills the reader in on what happened to them later on. And the switching back and forth from the 60s to other times was done so fluently that it didn’t jar me out of the story at all.

I really, really enjoyed After the Falls. In fact, I enjoyed it so much I just may have to rethink my opinion on memoirs.

Thanks to Marci and the folks at Random House for the review copy.

Browse inside After the Falls.

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6 Responses to “Review: After the Falls by Catherine Gildiner”

  1. Michael Gildiner February 9, 2010 at 1:00 pm #

    I came across this during a search. I am Cathy’s husband.
    You will like her first installment- “Too Close To The Falls”. (ECW Press)

    • lavenderlines February 9, 2010 at 3:50 pm #

      Hello Cathy’s husband! To Close to the Falls is on my to be read list. :0)

  2. Ruth Ren February 14, 2010 at 8:00 pm #

    Hello Cathy,

    When I was finished reading After the Falls, I wept! I wept for you, me, your parents, my parents: everyone’s parents! -Parenting skill should be taught, beginning in early Kindergarten. I was the older daughter of nine females born to two loving, but extremely immature, Irish Catholic parents. Unlike your parents, my parents were terrible affected by the Irish Troubles, the Second World War and religious differences Catholics, Protestants and Jews!! Also, I had an older brother who suffered brain damage at birth. Along with helping my mother -who was either pregnant or suffering from postpartum blues- I took care of my brother, defended and protected him in and out of school from bullies; cared for my siblings; did the grocery shopping, at least four of the five days in the week; defended my mother when she and my father argued. So as I read your book (I’ve read three of them) I could identify with you. I was known for being “forward” with my opinions. -When I did finally add a full time job to my other work -at a supermarket first and then as a veterinary receptionist- (and received acclaim for being one of the youngest Manageress’ in Dublin, with my own store) my father disbelieved me; his actual words: “Who YOU!” I fell in love the first boy I fancied; but my father would not allow it; I persisted. My father would not allow me to marry until I was of legal age. I marred the year after I turned Twenty-one; then left my family on my wedding day to start life in another country. -I choose June 3, to marry, because that was the same date King Edward of England gave up his throne to marry the divorced commoner, whom he loved. I’m still with my husband, now going on 43 years. Now why did I start telling you this!? You see Catherine, reading your books brought back memories, good and bad, that I had not thought about for so long. So thank you, thank you, thank you!!
    Ruth

  3. cathy Gildiner February 15, 2010 at 4:38 pm #

    wow I had to read this site to find out that my husband liked the book! Thanks

    Also I love the response that you did everything at home and the date you married — same as giving up the throne. I am so glad it brought back memories for you Ruth and Caroline thanks for the great review

  4. Allison March 4, 2010 at 12:16 pm #

    I find it hard to read memoirs too. Self-indulgent is an understatement. I mean who do these people think they are that makes their live more deserving of a book than us? (Unless whining is a big key!) 😉

    I may have to look into this one though.. I tend to like books set in that time period as well!

    • Jane July 30, 2010 at 10:20 am #

      Just finished Too Close & After the Falls… Could not put either down although After, being about young adulthood, has a decidely darker tone. Neither self-indulgent, nor whiny – C Gildiner has lived an interesting life & writes about it with humour & candor. Great reads that make me think about parenting, education & dealing with aging parents. Looking forward to more from Dr. Gildiner.

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