2016: 94. Fall on Your Knees

“They’re all dead now.”

Fall on Your Knees, Ann-Marie MacDonald

Bought this at the big used book sale, mostly becasue I loved the art deco font.  And a glimpse on the back blurb promised that “the Piper family is steeped in secrets, lies, and unspoken truths,” which you know, sign me up.  It was an Oprah book at some point, and it’s very Oprah book-y, with a family with a mysterious  and tortured past, and the fact that it’s sort of a sweeping saga, covering the family across generations.  So, you sort of know what to expect when you pick it up.

Except, I LOVED it.  First of all, I couldn’t put it down.  It was such an amazing beach read (well, technically, since I’m dealing with some pain, it was a sit on the couch and look at the view read, but you get the gist).  The plot is absolutely ridiculous.  It’s about the Piper family - but mostly about the four daughters, and let me tell you, there is some gothic shit in this book.  Half the fun are the twists and turns, so I don’t want to give it away, but if you can think of a shocking plot twist that might be in a book, believe me, it is in this book.  There is so much plot, that, looking at it from the remove of having read the book a few weeks ago, it’s almost seems ridiculous.  Like, if I listed all the things that happen in this book, you would say it was too much - too soapy.

But the miracle of Fall on Your Knees is that when you are reading it, it doesn’t seem like too much at all.  The writing somehow takes the ridiculous and makes it normal, so that you get wrapped up in the lives of the characters as real people, and root for them, follow them, try along with them to sort out the family history.  How MacDonald made a rocco opera into a book about a normal Canadian family is kind of incredible.  Part of the reason is MacDonald’s sense of humor about her characters.  They are funny, and act like real people (albeit people who are living Job-like lives). 

I’m not saying this is great literature (though it won some prizes), but I am just delighted by the Ann Radcliffe plot, and the Anne Tyler prose.  I think you’d enjoy reading this, even if only to be amazed by how much happens.

© Carrie Dunsmore 2017