Monday, December 9, 2013

Review: "Fall on Your Knees" by Ann-Marie MacDonald

Fall on Your Knees by Ann-Marie Macdonald was a real wild card for me, and it didn’t really pay off. While it does move quickly despite its heft, it handles its heavier themes, such as incest, rape and family secrets in a rather boring way by not focusing all its energy on the narrative. It tries too hard to be fancy with its wording, and Macdonald is just not the writer for this kind heavy-handed themes, which makes me think twice about reading her next book, which is much longer at 800 pages. It really is when Macdonald takes the story outside of the confines of the family structure she has laid out for us that the book becomes rather plodding and tacked on. The characters that seem rather superfluous take on roles that are way to important in moving things along, and their lack of fascination simply can’t keep up with the reader’s attention span. The story focuses on the Piper family, beginning with the love affair of a Lebanese woman and a Canadian man, whose love for each other is violently opposed by the woman’s family, really setting the stage for the kinds of violence and debauchery that will become the legacy of the Piper family through their four daughters; Kathleen, the unloved one, Mercedes, the family martyr, Frances, the self-proclaimed “bad girl”, and Lily, the focus of everyone’s attention who also is the consequence of the darkest secret in the family. Anything involving the family is at least good, even great in the beginning when we see the rift between the mother and family, and the violent act that nearly cripples the father. But once we start getting into other families and the lovers the sisters take, the book completely lost me in how little control it had over the big cast of characters. I might like this book if it was shorter, but the 500 pages made this hard to get through.
Rating: 3/5

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