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I am looking forward to reading After The Falls! Aug 19, Robin Mandell rated it really liked it. Excellent writing! Mar 04, Kerfe rated it really liked it Shelves: non-fiction , biography-memoir. For some reason, I thought this was a novel. Then I thought: "another memoir by a spunky girl with an unusual family"--and, in a way, that was what it turned out to be. But also more, and better. Cathy Gildiner's small upstate New York town upbringing was stultifyingly normal, or typical, or it tried its best to be. The veneer was patriotic, religious, insular, narrow-minded. There were Rules and Roles that were followed and not questioned.

Add Catholic School and a precocious naivete to the mix, For some reason, I thought this was a novel. Add Catholic School and a precocious naivete to the mix, and a child who saw the contradictions and asked about them was heading for a hard time. One of the big disillusionments of growing up is the realization that what is said and what is done by adults, communities, religions, and nations are often quite different, even opposite.

Navigating this treacherous socialization process without succumbinhg to a life with blinders, cynical manipulation, or total rejection is difficult. When and how to compromise? When to dig in and fight? How to maintain integrity and still be part of a hypocritical and imperfect social community? How to break or sidestep Rules creatively?


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How to look Correct and yet also do what the conscience says is the right thing? Cathy has some good teachers, in both a postive and a negative sense. One of the strengths of these stories is the way the author reveals her subjects' complicated layers of humanity and hidden dignity.

Bright yet not wise in the deceptive ways of fitting in and getting by, Cathy, working in her father's pharmacy from the age of four, lacked the normal prejudicial filters for much of her early exposure to the full range of adult life in Lewiston. How hard it is to duplicate when grown older and jaded that openness to the world. Nov 16, Kim rated it it was ok.

Catherine Gildiner on Losing Empathy

Very mixed feelings on this one! I enjoyed the book until the last part when it took a serious dive but I do not believe it is really an accurate account of the author's life and shouldn't be listed as a autobiography. The dates of events do not match up one example: she and Roy start delivering together when she is 4, Roy supposedly leaves when she is in 6th grade which would be 8 years at most but later she says she and Roy delivered meds to the Dupont girl for 12 years , the memories she s Very mixed feelings on this one!

The dates of events do not match up one example: she and Roy start delivering together when she is 4, Roy supposedly leaves when she is in 6th grade which would be 8 years at most but later she says she and Roy delivered meds to the Dupont girl for 12 years , the memories she supposedly has from the time she is 4 years old are too detailed and mature for someone that young, etc.

Nonetheless, I was really enjoying the book just for the humor until she starting talking and philosophizing about her altercations with the nuns and priests at her school and the events that led to and followed her being expelled from the Catholic school and her loss of faith. The chapter on the priest that taught her philosophy class really didn't seem to fit the rest of the book and left me with a much lower opinion of this book.

Too Close to the Falls: A Memoir eBook: Catherine Gildiner: wovunefaco.ml: Kindle Store

I am not Catholic so my opinions were not influenced by that factor. Dec 25, Mary rated it really liked it. Very interesting book This book was great! It's the sort where I felt compelled to read big chunks of it out loud to whatever poor sap was in the room with me. Feb 12, Wisewebwoman rated it really liked it.

A wonderful quirky memoir of a clever child growing up in Lewiston New York with so much energy that she's working in her father's drug store at the age of 4, stocking shelves and stacking newspapers and delivering prescriptions. The one problem I had was with the ending. Whether that was the change in writing style or the fact she was obviously a schoolgirl still in her uniform and was served drinks and taken as a newly wed at a fancy hotel, it left me suspending my disbelief.

Bu A wonderful quirky memoir of a clever child growing up in Lewiston New York with so much energy that she's working in her father's drug store at the age of 4, stocking shelves and stacking newspapers and delivering prescriptions. But a fun frolic prior to then.

May 18, Kerry rated it really liked it. This is a fun book, light and enjoyable. Found it in the discard bin at my local library and after just a few pages was hooked. Other reviewers had some concerns about the validity of some of the stories and I too had some disbelief about her age and ability to recall and reason as the episodes indicated but the writing was great and weather it is true memories or cobbled together stories did not detract from my great enjoyment of this early life history. Would recommend it, especially if you gr This is a fun book, light and enjoyable. Would recommend it, especially if you grew up in the early 's and want some great reminders of that day and age.

Jan 10, Orla Hegarty rated it really liked it Shelves: sentbynlpl. This book memoir made me laugh out loud many times. All of the characters ie real people sprang to life. What a gifted writer Ms. Gildener is!

Coming Ashore: True reflections from Catherine Gildiner’s clear-eyed third memoir

I look forward to reading her next two memoirs. Apr 19, Helen rated it it was amazing. I loved this memoir! So unique and charming and full of memorable characters. Jul 01, Penny McGill rated it it was amazing Shelves: book-club-favourites , all-time-favourites. Posting a review of Jeanette Walls most recent book reminded me of this book. Catherine Gildiner's story of growing up in a town that was "too close to the falls" is one of my all-time-favourite books and I have met so many people who agree and many that disagree.

I had my husband read it to see if we could compare and he found the stories she tells to be too far-fetched and didn't like how it bounced around. I can see his point and might not think that Catherine Gildiner deserves any awards for Posting a review of Jeanette Walls most recent book reminded me of this book. I can see his point and might not think that Catherine Gildiner deserves any awards for great writing but this book deserves awards for how it tells the tale of a particular time in history and makes you laugh while you read it.

Catherine's early years are unusual as her parents have a tough time with a 4-year old who would be described as 'spirited' in current language or 'in need of a spanking' in the time that I grew up. Her father runs a busy pharmacy and her mother is very busy working on researching and writing papers she presents to the local historical society so they choose to assign Catherine the job of making deliveries for the pharmacy.

She isn't old enough or big enough to drive but she is a strong reader and navigator and she makes these deliveries in the company of a man named Roy.


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  • It's the terrific relationship she has with Roy that always makes me come back to this story. In their travels they provide kindness and medication to many different people in their area - wealthy and incredibly poor - and on one very interesting occasion to Marilyn Monroe on the set of a movie being filmed in Niagara Falls. The meeting Marilyn Monroe part of the story is a very small part of a long list of crazy circumstances this little girl finds herself in.

    It's a true coming-of-age tale with Catherine making decisions about who she is, navigating a very difficult school situation, comparing herself to other students and her parents, thinking through the big questions, but the little glimpses of that time period - owning one of the first televisions in town - are what makes this book a gem.

    It's a book I give to people who are comfortable with a quirky tale and in the mood for something fun. It isn't for everyone definitely not a good choice for my husband but it is the best book for the right kind of person. If you haven't come across it yet it is worth a try. Nostalgia alone will make you glad you did. Mar 14, Jan rated it really liked it. Gildiner's memoir of her very unusual childhood is vivid and hilarious. From the age of four she worked in her father's drug store in Niagara Falls, NY.

    Her best friends were the store employees, especially the delivery man, Roy, with whom she spent hours ferrying medicines to the locals and learning a lot of their secrets. In her Catholic school the too-smart-for-her-own-good, hyperactive Cathy would try anything except studying. When the boy behind her wouldn't stop pulling her hair out, she s Gildiner's memoir of her very unusual childhood is vivid and hilarious.

    When the boy behind her wouldn't stop pulling her hair out, she stabbed him in the hand, leading to a conversation with a psychiatrist that had me laughing out loud. Her parents obviously worried a lot, but they respected her individuality and provided only the gentlest guidance. Cathy's intellectual mother spent her days reading and researching esoteric subjects. She never cooked a meal or cleaned her own house and had to teach her daughter how to behave when she visited friends whose meals were prepared and eaten at home. This mom deserves a book of her own.

    Much about her becomes clearer in the sequel. Cathy's unusual upbringing and her uninhibited spirit led to many hilarious incidents, as well as some dangerous moments. All are vividly recounted by the author, a psychologist-turned-writer who created one of the most entertaining reads I've had in a long time. I immediately went on to the sequel, Too Close to the Falls. Jan 20, Rena Jane rated it it was amazing.

    I loved this book. There must have been a lot of us in the 's who had unusual childhoods. This is one author, I could really relate to, because I, too, was raised in an adult world. I had no idea how to relate to children, and their kind of teasing was so different, and it seemed cruder and more cruel than adult teasing. I, too, was taken on a delivery route with my father, although I don't remember that part very much.

    He carried mail to several small post offices in rural northern Montana. Wish I could remember that time, to tell the stories. I think Catherine was truly blessed to have had a friend like Roy. And the characters he brought into her life in the course of their deliveries were truly amazing and wonderful. I loved the story about Warty. Poor lady was such an outcast, but Cathy empathized and related to her quite well, I thought.

    Probably one of the only true friends the woman had.

    Character Worksheets

    The family's move was sad. It made me think about those days when there were many quirky and quaint little stores that did more than the obvious. It seems a town or village loses a lot when the franchise fast food and chain stores come in and force those little stores out. People had a sense of community in those small places, that was destroyed and never came back again. Now I have to read After the Falls. I thoroughly enjoyed this memoir of a very bright, ADHD, girl growing up in a small town near the Niagra Falls in the 's.

    In order to keep Cathy from getting into trouble, her father - the owner of a pharmacy - has her working in the shop from the age of about five years! Cathy loves the work and the companions she has there, especially Roy, a young black worker who befriends and protects her. She attends a Roman Catholic school and struggles hard to fit in.

    The memoir ends when Cathy is in I thoroughly enjoyed this memoir of a very bright, ADHD, girl growing up in a small town near the Niagra Falls in the 's. The memoir ends when Cathy is in her teens and rebelling against authority. I so enjoyed Cathy's intelligence, her vitality, and also her innocence! When other teens were very aware of their sexuality, Cathy is totally unaware! I loved reading about the people who played such a large role in her life, for example her mother who never, ever, cooked!

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    • Comments Postmedia is pleased to bring you a new commenting experience. Sign in to Comment. Its seventy-six acres are rich with possibilities and full of surprises, including a mother and daughter squatting on the property. Although company is the last thing Roseanna wants, she reluctantly lets them stay. Profoundly moving and gracefully told, Pachinko follows one Korean family through the generations, beginning in early s Korea with Sunja, the prized daughter of a poor yet proud family, whose unplanned pregnancy threatens to shame them.

      Betrayed by her wealthy lover, Sunja finds unexpected salvation when a young tubercular minister offers to marry her and bring her to Japan to start a new life. Now, in Half Broke Horses , she brings us the story of her grandmother, told in a first-person voice that is authentic, irresistible, and triumphant. In , at the height of World War I, brilliant Shakespeare expert Elizebeth Smith went to work for an eccentric tycoon on his estate outside Chicago.

      The tycoon had close ties to the US government, and he soon asked Elizebeth to apply her language skills to an exciting new venture: code breaking. There she met the man who would become her husband, groundbreaking cryptologist William Friedman. Evelyn Waugh's most celebrated work is a memory drama about the intense entanglement of the narrator, Charles Ryder, with a great Anglo-Catholic family.

      Written during World War II, the story mourns the passing of the aristocratic world Waugh knew in his youth and vividly recalls the sensuous pleasures denied him by wartime austerities; in so doing it also provides a profound study of the conflict between the demands of religion and the desires of the flesh.

      A poignant memoir about one intrepid, unforgettable girl and her extraordinary childhood in s small-town America. Welcome to the childhood of Catherine McClure Gildiner. No one is divorced. Mothers wear high heels to the beauty salon and children pop Pez candy and swing from vines over a local gorge.

      But at the tender age of four, it becomes clear to her Cathy's parents that their rambunctious daughter is no ordinary child and they soon put her "to work" at her father's pharmacy. Already able to read road maps, she accompanies Roy the deliveryman on his routes. In memories that are by turns hilarious and deeply moving, she shares some of her more fantastic deliveries-sleeping pills to Marilyn Monroe in town filming Niagara , sedatives to Mad Bear, a violent Tuscarora chief, and fungus cream to Warty, the gentle, and painfully lonely operator of the town dump.

      It is a beautiful portrait of a life so full it is bursting, written through the innocent, yet incredibly worldly eyes of a child. This little girl was raised by the village of people she lived and worked with. Exposed to such a wide variety of unwitting mentors who either taught her something positive, or showed her in one way or another-which way not to go. With parents who loved and doted on her in their own unique ways,her independent spirit was somehow nurtured, or at least encouraged.

      Or perhaps it was a mix of independence and survival. Either way, it was amazing to hear about how resilient this child was no matter what she could not unsee or hear-and choose to be a successful and hopefully whole and happy adult. What did you love best about Too Close to the Falls?

      The characters are great and the perspective is as well! I grew up not too far away from Niagara Falls so am familiar with the landscape and culture. Fun, witty book that was well worded! Who was your favorite character and why? Katherine, I loved to hear how she thought and how she embraced being herself.